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Bergmann A.,Water Center | Weber F.-A.,Water Center | Meiners H.G.,Ahu AG Wasser Boden Geomatik | Muller F.,Ahu AG Wasser Boden Geomatik
Environmental Sciences Europe | Year: 2014

Background: The application of hydraulic fracturing during exploration and exploitation of unconventional natural gas reservoirs is currently under intense public discussion. On behalf of the German Federal Environment Agency we have investigated the potential water-related environmental risks for human health and the environment that could be caused by employing hydraulic fracturing in unconventional gas reservoirs in Germany. Here we provide an overview of the present situation and the state of the debate in Germany and summarize main results of the conducted risk assessment. Results: We propose a concept for a risk assessment considering the site-specific analysis of the geosystem, the relevance of possible impact pathways and the hazard potential of the fracking fluids employed. The foundation of a sound risk analysis is a description of the current system, the relevant impact pathways and their interactions. An evaluation of fracking fluids used in Germany shows that several additives were employed even in newer fluids that exhibit critical properties or for which an assessment of their behaviour and effects in the environment is not possible or limited due to lack of current knowledge. The authors propose an assessment method that allows for the estimation of the hazard potential of specific fracking fluids, formation water, and the flowback based on legal thresholds and guidance values as well as on human- and eco-toxicologically predicted no-effect concentrations. The assessment of a previously employed and a prospectively planed fracking fluids shows that these fluids exhibit a high hazard potential. The flowback containing fracking fluid, formation water, and possibly reaction products can also exhibit serious hazard potentials, requiring environmentally acceptable techniques for its treatment and disposal. Conclusions: The risk analysis must be conducted always site-specifically and consider regional groundwater flow conditions. The study concludes that currently missing knowledge and data prevent a profound assessment of the risks and their technical controllability in Germany. Missing knowledge and information includes data on the properties of the deep geosystem and of the behaviour and effects of the deployed chemical additives. In this setting the authors propose several recommendations for further action and procedures regarding the application of hydraulic fracturing in unconventional gas reservoirs in Germany. © 2014 Bergmann et al. Source


Rossner U.,Ahu AG Wasser Boden Geomatik | Lennartz N.,Ahu AG Wasser Boden Geomatik | Sailer C.,Ahu AG Wasser Boden Geomatik | Kirch P.M.,Walter Dautzenberg WAG Wassergewinnungs und aufbereitungsgesellschaft Nordeifel mbH | Dautzenberg W.,Walter Dautzenberg WAG Wassergewinnungs und aufbereitungsgesellschaft Nordeifel mbH
WasserWirtschaft | Year: 2011

The risk study is an important and effective instrument used by Public Water Suppliers for the prevention and management of contamination risks to unprocessed water. Such a risk study has been produced for the first time for a drinking water dam in the northern Eifel in North Rhine-Westphalia as the basis for future security management. The study includes an estimation of use-specific risk potentials and their sensitivity compared to input of contaminants into the catchment area. The contamination risk is derived from a combination of risk potentials and their sensitivity. Based on these results mitigating measures for risk reduction or risk prevention can be established for unprocessed water and in the catchment area. Source

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