The US EPA hosted a technical workshop on analytical chemical methods for hydraulic fracturing on February 25th in Research Triangle Park, NC. The goal of these workshops is to gather together stakeholders, technical experts, and EPA representatives to get updates on the progress of the EPA’s testing with regards to hydraulic fracturing. It also serves as a forum to discuss best testing practices and methodologies for this area. Teledyne Tekmar was privileged to participate as a speaker and participant in the round table panel discussions that coincided with the workshop.
The technical portion of the workshop involved presentations from experts in a variety of different areas, including sample preparation, instrumentation, and academic research. Teledyne Tekmar spoke on the topic of dissolved gas analysis, referencing the application note: Alternative Methods to RSK 175 Using Purge and Trap Concentration and Automated Headspace for the Analysis of Dissolved Gases in Drinking Water.
This topic garnered a multitude of questions, as dissolved gases are a key indicator that there may be problems with a fracking well since gases travel quicker than most of the other potential chemicals involved in the process.
These workshops provide excellent opportunities to bring stakeholders together and share best practices/methodologies, especially in areas like hydraulic fracturing where there is not a lot of historical data to work from. Since testing and regulation fell on state and local governments in the past, the US EPA has looked to the more regional experts for insight onto what compounds they should monitor, key indicators of a problem with a well, and the methods to use to monitor them. With all the potential variables and impacts on public health and safety, bringing in these experts and letting them have some influence on the process and keeping everyone on the same page is significant.
All materials from the workshop will be posted on the study’s website at www.epa.gov/hfstudy in the near future. EPA will also host a webinar (target last week of March) to report out to the public on what was learned at the workshop. They are hosting additional workshops in April and June. Details can be found at: http://www.epa.gov/hfstudy/techwork13.html.