A Microfluidic Device for Detection of Water Contamination from Hydraulic Fracturing
Poster Mar 10, 2015
Leslie J. Loh, Gayan C. Bandara, Christopher A. Heist and Vincent T. Remcho
While hydraulic fracturing (fracking) has made shale gas accessible and economical, large quantities of wastewater are produced over the lifespan of a well: drilling and fracturing a Marcellus shale well requires approximately 14,000-17,000 m3 of water. Within one year of well completion, 10-25% of the water returns to the surface as a concentrated brine. Although 55-80% of this returned water is reused for other wells, a substantial amount of wastewater is leftover. These large wastewater volumes have prompted the need for appropriate management and monitoring techniques. Current methods for water analysis are not designed for fracking formulations, thus new approaches are needed to assess and maintain environmental compliance and safety as these valuable natural resources are utilized.
To meet these demands, microfluidic tools are being designed, built and applied. These offer the advantages of low cost, simplicity, stability and high adaptability for widespread distribution. Our devices can be interfaced with multiple detection methods, including colorimetric detection using stand-alone, low-cost hardware and the optical hardware on smartphones. Detection of constituents such as bromide, strontium and barium are of particular interest because they are characteristic of the wastewater generated by Marcellus shale gas extraction. Detection can serve as an early indication of wastewater leaks—a crucial tool for preventing source water contamination. Additionally, rapid detection of these elements can be useful for tracking the movement of produced waters, an important process for ensuring safe wastewater disposal. We will present recent outcomes from our work on quantification of fracturing fluid indicators.
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The determination of geographical origin of wine is gaining increased interest by researchers and federal agencies around the world, partially due to increased fraud with regards to place of origin labelling. For wine, multi-elemental profiling of macro, micro, and trace elements has been proposed for determination of authenticity. Commercial wines from different wineries in 5 different neighborhoods within one AVA show characteristic elemental fingerprints. Macro, micro and trace elements as well as elemental ratios contribute to the observed separation, indicating the involvement of multiple factors and underlying mechanisms, including location and soil composition, elemental uptake by vine and rootstock, viticulture and nutrient management, water sources, and small differences in the different wineries.READ MORE
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This method was designed in response to recent and proposed food standards, both international and national, that limit inorganic arsenic rather than total, organic, or individual arsenic species such as arsenite (AsIII) and arsenate (AsV). Analysis time is 10x faster than the current FDA regulatory method, increasing sample throughput, avoided spectral interferences and dramatically increased sensitivity. Validation data from two laboratories demonstrate the method’s accuracy and reproducibility of both wine and rice matrices in a single analytical batch.READ MORE
Elemental profiles of whiskies allow differentiation by type and region by inductively coupled plasma –optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES)Poster
The analysis of the elemental composition of whiskies provides a host of important information including sample origin and understanding how different whiskey styles are caused by processing equipment and raw materials. Preliminary data analysis of the whiskies showed that element compositions could possibly be used to differentiate samples based on age, type, and region.READ MORE