Wednesday 26 September 2018

Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon Degradation and BTEX Leaching in Soils after Application of Oil-Base Drilling Mud: Impact of Application Rate, Rainfall Regime, and Time (MAOPS)-Lupine Publishers

Increases in oil and gas drilling have resulted in large quantities of oil base "mud" (OBM) to be disposed of. Land application of OBM to agricultural land is a common disposal technique that presents agronomic and environmental challenges since the material is rich in total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH). Leaching of lower molecular weight hydrocarbons, mainly benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene (BTEX), is a concern due to their relatively low octanol: water partition coefficients. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of rainfall regime and TPH loading rate on TPH degradation and BTEX leaching after OBM application. An OBM was characterized for TPH, BTEX, and trace metals. A soil column study was conducted where OBM was applied at five loading rates (0, 22,000, 45,000, 67,000, and 90,000 kg TPH ha-1) and was subjected to four moisture regimes. OBM samples were taken at day 0, 7, 30, 60, and 91 to monitor TPH degradation. Leachate samples were taken at day 0, 14, 28, 35, 49, 56, 63, 77, and 84 to monitor electrical conductivity (EC), pH, metal concentrations, and BTEX concentrations. After 60 days, a maximum TPH degradation of 35% was measured. Leachate BTEX concentrations increased as TPH application rate increased and was mostly undetectable by day 28. Leachate EC increased over time and with increasing TPH rates. TPH rate had no effect on leachate pH. OBM loading rates had the greatest effect on TPH degradation and BTEX leaching. Under our experimental conditions, little risk of BTEX leaching from land applied OBM was observed.

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