Abstract

The empowerment of small independent oil and gas producers to solve their own remediation problems will result in greater environmental compliance and more effective protection of the environment, as well as making small producers more self-reliant. Here, we report on the effectiveness of a low-cost method of remediation of a combined spill of crude oil and brine in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in Osage County, Oklahoma. Specifically, we have used hay and fertilizer as amendments for remediation of both the oil and the brine. No gypsum was used. Three spills of crude oil plus produced water brine were treated with combinations of ripping, fertilizers and hay, and a downslope interception trench in an effort to demonstrate an inexpensive, easily implemented, and effective remediation plan. No statistically significant effect of treatment on the biodegradation of crude oil was, however observed. Total petroleum hydrocarbon (TPH) reduction clearly proceeded in the presence of brine contamination. The average TPH half-life considering all impacted sites was 267 days. The combination of hay addition, ripping, and a downslope interception trench was superior to hay addition with ripping or ripping plus an interception trench in terms of rates of sodium and chloride leaching from the impacted sites. Reductions in salt inventories (36 months) were 73% in the site with hay addition, ripping, and an interception trench, 40% in the site with hay addition and ripping only, and less than 3% in the site with ripping and an interception trench.

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