2016 NGWA Groundwater Summit

Numerical Analysis of Groundwater Quality Impacts from Hydraulic Fracturing Wellbore Leakage

Wednesday, April 27, 2016: 11:50 a.m.
Confluence Ballroom A (The Westin Denver Downtown)
Amy Rice, Ph.D. Candidate , Hydrologic Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Kamini Singha , Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO

The development of directional drilling and stimulation of reservoirs by hydraulic fracturing makes it economically feasible to recover unconventional oil and gas resources from shale formations, coal beds, and tight sand reservoirs. Hydraulic fracturing presents a set of water-quality challenges, including increased competition over water resources and the potential for air, surface water, and groundwater contamination. In this project, we use a three-dimensional, multiphase, multicomponent numerical model to investigate hydrogeologic conditions that could lead to groundwater contamination from a leaking hydraulic fracturing wellbore. We find that groundwater contamination resulting in impact to human health and the environment varies as a function of heterogeneity in subsurface permeability. Also, we describe a scenario where methane may serve as a precursor to contamination of drinking water aquifers by brine.

Amy Rice, Ph.D. Candidate, Hydrologic Science and Engineering, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Amy Rice is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program at Colorado School of Mines, studying with Dr. Kamini Singha. Amy is interested in processes of multiphase flow and transport in arid and semi-arid zones, especially the Western U.S. Amy came to Mines after earning an M.Sci. in Hydrology from the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ and completing a post-masters assignment at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, WA.

Kamini Singha, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
Kamini Singha, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering and the associate director of the Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program at the Colorado School of Mines. She worked at the U.S. Geological Survey Branch of Geophysics from 1997 to 2000, and was a member of the faculty at The Pennsylvania State University from 2005 to 2012. She earned her B.S. in geophysics from the University of Connecticut in 1999 and her Ph.D. in hydrogeology from Stanford University in 2005.