Addressing Water Well ‘Problems’ and Complaints in Areas of Unconventional Resource Development
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Addressing Water Well ‘Problems’ and Complaints in Areas of Unconventional Resource Development

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Presented at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists International Confernce & Exhibition in Singapore, Sept 18, 1012, as the Keynote Address for the Division of Environmental Geoscience......

Presented at the American Association of Petroleum Geologists International Confernce & Exhibition in Singapore, Sept 18, 1012, as the Keynote Address for the Division of Environmental Geoscience and Energy Minerals Division Luncheon; John V. Fontana, David M. Seneshen.

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  • 1. John V. Fontana, PG JFontana@VistaGeoScience.com David M. Seneshen, PhD DSeneshen@VistaGeoScience com DSeneshen@VistaGeoScience.comVista GeoScience, Golden, Colorado, USA
  • 2. OutlineIndustry’s Image Domestic Water Well Facts Domestic Water Well FactsLeading up to the Complaint g p pThe Water Well Symptoms & CausesHow to Prepare for and Handle the  Complaints that Will Come. Complaints that Will Come AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 2
  • 3. The Environmental Rules Environmental Problems are Emotional Environmental Problems are Emotional Environmental Solutions are Technical Environmental Decisions are Political Author Unknown AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 3
  • 4. The Public Image of Oil and GasThe Public Image of Oil and Gas Development AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 4
  • 5. Google Images (1st page)Google Images (1Fracking, WaterFracking, Water AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD  Luncheon; September 18, 2012 5
  • 6. GASLAND Debunked Several cases in Piceance &  Denver Basins, Colorado, USA Colorado Oil & Gas  Conservation Commission  i i i publishes a letter correcting  inaccuracies in Gasland.   Only one case related to oil &  O l l t d t il & gas operations,  (but not  shown to be from fracking.) Others all showed biogenic  Others all showed biogenic shallow or coal bed gas.  How many people who saw  the movie heard about that? the movie heard about that? AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 6
  • 7. Results of Misinformation? Bans on Hydraulic  Fracturing Countries  France  Bulgaria Many States, Provinces  & Cities AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 7
  • 8. W W ll O FWater Well Owner Facts About 95% of all rural Americans get their drinking About 95% of all rural Americans get their drinking  water from a groundwater source 42 million depend on wells for their water Groundwater provides:  37% of public water supplies  95% of self‐supplied household water Well Owner Associations Recommend Annual  Maintenance and Testing Maintenance and Testing  Most Owners Don’t Do Any! Few Test for Methane Few Test for Methane AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 8
  • 9. Colorado 25,700 Active Wells  270,000 Water Wells 40,000  P&A Wells  203,000 Residential/Household AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 9
  • 10. Common Well ProblemsCommon Well ProblemsCommon Well Problems1. Poor Water Production (Quantity)  Well Goes Dry or has Low Yield Rates2. General Water Quality2 General Water Quality  Odors, Taste, Color, Staining, etc.  di  Sediment  Bacteria ‐ Slime3. Gases in the Water AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 10
  • 11. Reasons for Problems are Many  Lack of Routine Testing & Maintenance  Poor Installation & Construction Practices  Poor Aquifer Conditions Poor Aquifer Conditions Photos Courtesy Anthony Gorody AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 11
  • 12. Private Wells Exceed EPA StandardsPrivate Wells Exceed EPA Standards Private water wells are not required  to meet US‐EPA drinking water standards.  Many exceed primary or secondary standards. y p y y Most Domestic Water Wells Contain Measurable  Dissolved Hydrocarbons (Mostly Methane) Dissolved Hydrocarbons (Mostly Methane)  Majority Contain Bacterial Gas  Some Contain Gas From Natural Seeps or  l Historic Production Activities AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 12
  • 13. l l l lU.S. Geological Surveys National Water‐QualityU.S. Geological Surveys National Water‐Assessment ProgramUSGS News Release, 2011 About 20% of untreated water samples from public, private, and  monitoring wells across the nation contain concentrations of at least  one trace element, such as arsenic, manganese and uranium, at  one trace element such as arsenic manganese and uranium at levels of potential health concern, according to a new study by the  U.S. Geological Survey. 10% actually contained two or more trace elements exceeding 10% actually contained two or more trace elements exceeding  human health benchmarks. Trace elements in groundwater exceed human health benchmarks at  a rate that far outpaces most other groundwater contaminants, such  as nitrate, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). i i id d l il i d (VOC )  5,000 well sample set in USGS NWQAP  http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp  http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/trace/pubs/sir2011‐5059 http://water.usgs.gov/nawqa/trace/pubs/sir2011 5059 AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 13
  • 14. The Complaint SequenceThe Complaint Sequence1. CBM, Tight Sand, or Shale Play Develops 2. + Hydraulic Fracturing Well Stimulation  No Previous Production History, or…  Previous History Drilling – Possibly Old, or….  Severed Mineral Rights3 L i A i iti3. Leasing Acquisition4. Owners Google “Fracking” and see the images Operator Begins Drilling Program, then…5. O B i D illi P h6. A Landowner’s Water Well Develops a Problem….7. The Land Owner Calls and Complains AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore    DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 14
  • 15. h C l iThe Complaint After they drilled that oil/gas well my water After they drilled that oil/gas well, my water  well _________!!!!!  (Fill in the Blank) well _________!!!!!  (Fill in the Blank)  … Stopped Working Stopped Working  … Went Dry Has Sediment or Slimy Stuff  … Has Sediment, or Slimy Stuff  … Has Gas Bubbles, or Methane   … Tastes Awful, Salty Tastes Awful Salty  … Smells  … Blew Up! … Blew Up! AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 15
  • 16. Common Aquifer Types W t T bl Water Table Alluvial Aquifer Bedrock Aquifer(Confined or Unconfined) AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore   DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 16
  • 17. Reasons for Low YieldReasons for Low Yield“My well now goes dry!” Yield i h i ld is the Rate the Well Flows Water (gpm) h ll l ( ) Day 1 will be your best yield ever! P t ti l C Potential Causes:  Tight or Low‐Flowing Aquifer  Dry Season – Low Water Table Dry Season  Low Water Table  Drawdown (over‐pumping)  Fouling of the Well Screen or Pump ‐ Sediment   Pump Damage, Small Size, Bad Installation ll d ll  Poor Well Design or Construction  Lifespan: Yield Declines with Age of Water Well Lifespan: Yield Declines with Age of Water Well AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 17
  • 18. Seasonal Fluctuation or Drought Spring/Summer Fall/Winter High water level Low water level AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD  Luncheon; September 18, 2012 18
  • 19. Localized Drawdown Over‐Over‐Use of the Aquifer AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD  Luncheon; September 18, 2012 19
  • 20. Fouling (blockage) of theFouling (blockage) of the Well Screen or Pump Silts and Clays AFTER Encrustation  “Hard” Water BEFORE  Iron Corrosion FOULED PUMP FOULED PUMP Bio‐Fouling  Bacteria Growth Bacteria Growth AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore    20 DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012
  • 21. Poor Well Design or ConstructionPoor Well Design or Construction  Minimum Construction  Requirements & Rules  g – Good Enough?    Maybe Not…..  Sand/Gravel Filter or Open Bore? p  Post‐drilling well cleaning?  Adequate Bore‐Hole Diameter &  Depth? D th?  Is the casing too small or too big?  Well Casing Size & Screen Type? Well Casing Size & Screen Type?  Pump Size & Location? AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 21
  • 22. if f llLifespan of a Water Well Years to decades based on: d d b d  The Geology/Environment   Well Design/Construction /  Maintenance   Normal Corrosion/Wear &  l / Tear  Water Chemistry  h  Amount of Use AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore    DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 22
  • 23. Water Quality Complaints:: Water Quality Complaints Odor  Taste  Color & Sediment AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 23
  • 24. Causes of Poor QualityCauses of Poor QualityDissolved Minerals & Salts (High TDS) Dissolved Minerals & Salts (High TDS)Excessive Bacteria Activity  yDislodged Sediment or Slime Photos Courtesy Anthony Gorody AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 24
  • 25. Gas BubblesGas BubblesMy water fizzes like soda! y f Causes Dissolved Air or Natural Gas ‐  Dissolved Air or Natural Gas Methane and/or Carbon Dioxide Sources  Natural Bacteria Gas  Natural Gas ‐ Coal Bed Methane Radon – Uranium is potential  AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 25
  • 26. N t lSNatural Seeps Do Exist – A k J d! D E itNatural Seeps Do Exist – Ask Jed! AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 26
  • 27. How Common is Methane in Ground Water? Is Methane Present in the Well? Not Regulated by EPA, So There is No Specific  Method Detection Limit Requirements  “Reportable Quantities” Vary by Lab y g  Varies by several orders of magnitude  (.1ug/L – 1mg/L) Laboratory Methods Vary  FID‐GC vs. TCD‐GC Analysis  RSKSOP‐175  (Rev. No. 2, 2004) ( , ) (Robert S. Kerr Lab Std. Op. Procedure #175)  USEPA Region 1 (Rev. 1, 2002): Technical  Guidance for the Natural Attenuation Indicators:  Methane, Ethane, and Ethene Proper Collection Method is IMPORTANT Proper Collection Method is IMPORTANT RSK METHOD:   “This standard operating procedure has been prepared for the use of the Ground Water and  Ecosystems Restoration Division of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and may not be specifically applicable  to the activities of other organizations. THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL EPA APPROVED METHOD. This document has    h   i i i   f  h   i i  THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL EPA APPROVED METHOD  Thi  d  h   not been through the Agency’s peer review process or ORD clearance process.” AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 27
  • 28. Potential Impacts to Water Wells p Barn  Home with  Fuel  Garage Animals Septic Field Septic Field Storage S AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon;  September 18, 2012 28
  • 29. Livestock Pen Water Well & CisternLivestock Pen, Water Well & Cistern AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     29 DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012
  • 30. Ci S i k?Cistern or Septic Tank? AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore    DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 30
  • 31. Preparing for Complaints Establish a Baseline Program Establish a Baseline Program   Conduct Sampling  Ed Educate Water Well Owners on Your Efforts  t W t W ll O Y Eff t and Water Well Testing & Maintenance  Promote it as a Valuable Community Service Promote it as a Valuable Community Service  “How Well Do You Know Your Water Well” http://cogcc.state.co.us/Library/WaterWellBooklet.pdf htt // t t /Lib /W t W llB kl t df Use as Opportunity for Stakeholder  Engagement AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 31
  • 32. E bli h B li W Q liEstablish Baseline Water Quality Voluntary Programs Regulated Programs Sampling & Analysis Plan (SAP) l l l ( )  Establish Data Quality Objectives  Quality Assurance & Quality Quality Assurance & Quality  Control  Field Protocol Analytical Protocol  Analytical Protocol Expertise & Experience AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore    DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 32
  • 33. Baseline Water Quality & DissolvedBaseline Water Quality & Dissolved Gas Parameters Fingerprint of Water and Gas Chemistry Major Anions and Cations ‐ Balance ( ) Trace Metals (EPA Toxic Lists) pH, eH, Conductivity, Temp, DO Dissolved Hydrocarbons  Methane, Ethane, Propane Methane, Ethane, Propane   C1‐C6 recommended  BTEX or VOCs (EPA ‐ SW846 8260 GC‐MS) + TPH Stable Isotopes Stable Isotopes  Methane ‐ δ13C and δD  C2+, CO2 and Water Isotopes (O & H)  Other Stable Isotopes  p AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore    DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 33
  • 34. Establish Baseline Water Quality  Q yParameters (continued) Uranium/Radon, other NORMs Arsenic Nitrates Coliform B t i C lif Bacteria Bacteria Activity Reaction Test (BART)  Iron Related (IRB)  Sulfate Related (SRB) Sulfate Related (SRB)  Slime Forming  (SLYM) Design for Local Geochemistry Issues How Many Pre‐Drill Events? How Many Pre Drill Events?  Natural Variability can be Significant  Seasonal Changes  Mixed Aquifers  Water Demand/Usage Water Demand/Usage AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 34
  • 35. Methane in Fox Hills AquiferMethane in Fox Hills AquiferD B i C l d USADenver Basin, Colorado, USA AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 35
  • 36. Denver Basin Baseline Survey, C l d USAColorado, USA Period TYPE WELL M. Segelke # 1ERA GEOLOGIC FORMATION NENE Sec. 27 T11N R53W EPOCH/AGE NAME API 05-075-09050 Holocene Alluvial & DuneRecent 0 - 50 ft Pleistocene Sand Pliocene Ogallaha 0 - 180 ft Ogallala Aquifer (80 m) TERTIARY 0 - 80 ft Miocene Arikaree (Not present in area) ( p ) Lower Oligocene White River 25 - 100 ft Laramie Late Maestrichtian Fox Hills 400 - 550 ft Fox Hills Aquifer (300 m) Maestrichtian Campanian Pierre 3150 ft Anomalous dissolved CH4 CRETACEOUS Campanian Niobrara & 350 ft Coniacian Fort Hays ESOZOIC Carlile 195 ft Turonian Greenhorn 250 ft (Storage Caprock)ME C Cenomanian Graneros Shale Albian Dakota "D" Huntsman 50 ft (Storage Zone) 65 ft O&G Reservoir (2,100 m) Dakota "J" 104 ft (Storage Zone) Aptian Skull Creek 115 ft Lytle 104 ft Jurassic Morrison 420 ft AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 36
  • 37. No Mixing of Groundwater & Produced Water g Ogallala Aquifer  g q (Ca/Mg HCO3 Water) Fox Hills Aquifer  Fox Hills Aquifer Produced Water (NaHCO3 Water) Ogallala Aquifer Produced Water Produced Water  Fox Hills Aquifer (NaCl Water) Magnesium Sulfate type type Bicarbonat Sodium or Chloride Calcium e type potassium type type type AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 37
  • 38. Biogenic Methane in Aquifer Easily Distinguished from Produced GasDistinguished from Produced Gas -80 -80 BIOGENIC GAS BIOGENIC Water Well -70 GAS -70 Fox Hills Aquifer (300 m) -60 -60 MIXED MIXED C13Methane (‰) GAS GAS -50 -50 Produced Gas (2,100 m) MATURE THERMOGENIC GAS MATURE THERMOGENIC GAS FORMED WITH OIL FORMED WITH OIL -40 -40 POST- POST- MATURE MATURE -30 POST-MATURE -30 DRY GAS DRY GAS POST-MATURE WET GAS WET GAS -20 20 20 -20 -300 -250 -200 -150 -100 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 DMethane (‰) Gas Wetness (% C2+) AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 38
  • 39. Caveat: Mixing & Alteration canCaveat: Mixing & Alteration can Create a Complex Picture Courtesy Isotech Labs AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 39
  • 40. Assess Nearby Wells (and Mines)  for Leakage Old Wells or Open Annulus Can Create  Cross‐Communication with Aquifers C C i i i h A if Courtesy Anthony Gorody AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD  Luncheon; September 18, 2012 40
  • 41. Some Symptoms May Be Related to Ancillary ActivitiesRelated to Ancillary ActivitiesVibrations from Construction & Hydraulic Fracturing Activities Ground motion impacts on  water wells can ….  Disturb bottom sediment  Dislodge scale & bacterial  g slime  Temporarily increase  suspended material  = Immediate complaint AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 41
  • 42. Exploration Activity Seismic exploration may disturb the sediments in a Seismic exploration may disturb the sediments in a  water well temporarily  AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 42
  • 43. Regulated & Voluntary Baseline  g yProgram Are a Good Start…. A Use Them as a Minimum Set of StandardsA Use Them as a Minimum Set of Standards 2012, Richard Hirsch, Section of Douglas County Rural Water Providers Map AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 43
  • 44. ….. But it May not be Enough y gMultiple Confined Aquifers & High Density Water Wells Requires More Samples 2012, Richard Hirsch, Ponderosa Summit Subdivision AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore     DEG & EMD Luncheon;  September 18, 2012 44
  • 45. Assess VariabilityGround Water & Well Headspace Methane:  17 Sampling Events in 8 Month Period  Courtesy: Chuck Whisman (GES),  Debby McElreath (Chesapeake); 2012 Stray Gas Incident & Response Forum AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 45
  • 46. A V i bilitAssess VariabilityWell Headspace Methane vs. Water Level (Drawdown) Courtesy: Chuck Whisman (GES),  Debby McElreath (Chesapeake); 2012 Stray Gas Incident & Response Forum AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 46
  • 47. Fight Misinformation with Good Information & Education   Many Water Well Organizations  Provide Good Public Service  Information  NGWA  AGWT  GWPC State Water Well   State Water Well Organizations Industry Information Websites AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 47
  • 48. Summary Complaints Happen! Water Well Problems or Contaminants are a Result of:  Lack of Maintenance & Testing (most common)  Poor Construction, Poor Aquifer or Lifespan of a Well  Historic Drilling or Mining Activities  Natural In Place Gas, Migration or Seepage  Naturally Occurring Bacteria, Minerals, Etc.  New Releases, Casing Leaks, Spills (least common) , g , p ( ) A Proper Designed Baseline & Monitoring Program can:  Educate Stakeholders  Establishes Pre-Drill Baseline Conditions  Monitor Variability  Prepare you with Answers to the Complaints!  Mitigate Risk AAPG International Conference & Exhibition: Singapore      DEG & EMD Luncheon; September 18, 2012 48
  • 49. ThanksJFontana@VistaGeoScience.comDSeneshen@VistaGeoScience.comVista GeoScience, Golden, Colorado, USAwww.VistaGeoScience.com 49