Inform Environmental LLC

Dallas, TX, United States

Inform Environmental LLC

Dallas, TX, United States
SEARCH FILTERS
Time filter
Source Type

Hildenbrand Z.L.,University of Texas at Arlington | Hildenbrand Z.L.,Inform Environmental LLC | Mach P.M.,University of North Texas | McBride E.M.,University of North Texas | And 10 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

We present an analysis of ambient benzene, toluene, and xylene isomers in the Eagle Ford shale region of southern Texas. In situ air quality measurements using membrane inlet mobile mass spectrometry revealed ambient benzene and toluene concentrations as high as 1000 and 5000 parts-per-billion, respectively, originating from specific sub-processes on unconventional oil and gas well pad sites. The detection of highly variant contamination events attributable to natural gas flaring units, condensate tanks, compressor units, and hydrogen sulfide scavengers indicates that mechanical inefficiencies, and not necessarily the inherent nature of the extraction process as a whole, result in the release of these compounds into the environment. This awareness of ongoing contamination events contributes to an enhanced knowledge of ambient volatile organic compounds on a regional scale. While these reconnaissance measurements on their own do not fully characterize the fluctuations of ambient BTEX concentrations that likely exist in the atmosphere of the Eagle Ford Shale region, they do suggest that contamination events from unconventional oil and gas development can be monitored, controlled, and reduced. © 2016 Elsevier B.V.


Avila G.A.,University of Texas at El Paso | Ramirez D.H.,University of Texas at El Paso | Hildenbrand Z.L.,University of Texas at El Paso | Hildenbrand Z.L.,Inform Environmental LLC | And 5 more authors.
Protein Expression and Purification | Year: 2015

Gam1, an early gene product of an avian adenovirus, is essential for viral replication. Gam1 is the first viral protein found to globally inhibit cellular SUMOylation, a critical posttranslational modification that alters the function and cellular localization of proteins. The interaction details at the interface between Gam1 and its cellular targets remain unclear due to the lack of structural information. Although Gam1 has been previously characterized, the purity of the protein was not suitable for structural investigations. In the present study, the gene of Gam1 was cloned and expressed in various bacterial expression systems to obtain pure and soluble recombinant Gam1 protein for in vitro functional and structural studies. While Gam1 was insoluble in most expression systems tested, it became soluble when it was expressed as a fusion protein with trigger factor (TF), a ribosome associated bacterial chaperone, under the control of a cold shock promoter. Careful optimization indicates that both low temperature induction and the chaperone function of TF play critical roles in increasing Gam1 solubility. Soluble Gam1 was purified to homogeneity through sequential chromatography techniques. Monomeric Gam1 was obtained via size exclusion chromatography and analyzed by dynamic light scattering. The SUMOylation inhibitory function of the purified Gam1 was confirmed in an in vitro assay. These results have built the foundation for further structural investigations that will broaden our understanding of Gam1's roles in viral replication. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


PubMed | University of North Texas, The Ohio State University, University of Texas at Arlington and Inform Environmental LLC
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2016

The extraction of oil and natural gas from unconventional shale formations has prompted a series of investigations to examine the quality of the groundwater in the overlying aquifers. Here we present a reconnaissance analysis of groundwater quality in the Eagle Ford region of southern Texas. These data reveal two distinct sample populations that are differentiable by bromide/chloride ratios. Elevated levels of fluoride, nitrate, sulfate, various metal ions, and the detection of exotic volatile organic compounds highlight a high bromide group of samples, which is geographically clustered, while encompassing multiple hydrogeological strata. Samples with bromide/chloride ratios representative of connate water displayed elevated levels of total organic carbon, while revealing the detection of alcohols and chlorinated compounds. These findings suggest that groundwater quality in the Western Gulf Basin is, for the most part, controlled by a series of natural processes; however, there is also evidence of episodic contamination events potentially attributed to unconventional oil and gas development or other anthropogenic activities. Collectively, this characterization of natural groundwater constituents and exogenous compounds will guide targeted remediation efforts and provides insight for agricultural entities, industrial operators, and rural communities that rely on groundwater in southern Texas.


PubMed | Inform Environmental LLC, University of Texas at Arlington, University of North Texas and Inficon
Type: | Journal: The Science of the total environment | Year: 2016

We present an analysis of ambient benzene, toluene, and xylene isomers in the Eagle Ford shale region of southern Texas. In situ air quality measurements using membrane inlet mobile mass spectrometry revealed ambient benzene and toluene concentrations as high as 1000 and 5000 parts-per-billion, respectively, originating from specific sub-processes on unconventional oil and gas well pad sites. The detection of highly variant contamination events attributable to natural gas flaring units, condensate tanks, compressor units, and hydrogen sulfide scavengers indicates that mechanical inefficiencies, and not necessarily the inherent nature of the extraction process as a whole, result in the release of these compounds into the environment. This awareness of ongoing contamination events contributes to an enhanced knowledge of ambient volatile organic compounds on a regional scale. While these reconnaissance measurements on their own do not fully characterize the fluctuations of ambient BTEX concentrations that likely exist in the atmosphere of the Eagle Ford Shale region, they do suggest that contamination events from unconventional oil and gas development can be monitored, controlled, and reduced.


PubMed | University of North Texas, University of Texas at Arlington, Inform Environmental LLC and University of Houston
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Environmental science & technology | Year: 2015

The exploration of unconventional shale energy reserves and the extensive use of hydraulic fracturing during well stimulation have raised concerns about the potential effects of unconventional oil and gas extraction (UOG) on the environment. Most accounts of groundwater contamination have focused primarily on the compositional analysis of dissolved gases to address whether UOG activities have had deleterious effects on overlying aquifers. Here, we present an analysis of 550 groundwater samples collected from private and public supply water wells drawing from aquifers overlying the Barnett shale formation of Texas. We detected multiple volatile organic carbon compounds throughout the region, including various alcohols, the BTEX family of compounds, and several chlorinated compounds. These data do not necessarily identify UOG activities as the source of contamination; however, they do provide a strong impetus for further monitoring and analysis of groundwater quality in this region as many of the compounds we detected are known to be associated with UOG techniques.


Burton T.G.,University of Houston | Rifai H.S.,University of Houston | Hildenbrand Z.L.,Inform Environmental LLC | Hildenbrand Z.L.,University of Texas at Arlington | And 3 more authors.
Science of the Total Environment | Year: 2016

Hydraulic fracturing operations have been viewed as the cause of certain environmental issues including groundwater contamination. The potential for hydraulic fracturing to induce contaminant pathways in groundwater is not well understood since gas wells are completed while isolating the water table and the gas-bearing reservoirs lay thousands of feet below the water table. Recent studies have attributed ground water contamination to poor well construction and leaks in the wellbore annulus due to ruptured wellbore casings. In this paper, a geospatial model of the Barnett Shale region was created using ArcGIS. The model was used for spatial analysis of groundwater quality data in order to determine if regional variations in groundwater quality, as indicated by various groundwater constituent concentrations, may be associated with the presence of hydraulically fractured gas wells in the region. The Barnett Shale reservoir pressure, completions data, and fracture treatment data were evaluated as predictors of groundwater quality change. Results indicated that elevated concentrations of certain groundwater constituents are likely related to natural gas production in the study area and that beryllium, in this formation, could be used as an indicator variable for evaluating fracturing impacts on regional groundwater quality. Results also indicated that gas well density and formation pressures correlate to change in regional water quality whereas proximity to gas wells, by itself, does not. The results also provided indirect evidence supporting the possibility that micro annular fissures serve as a pathway transporting fluids and chemicals from the fractured wellbore to the overlying groundwater aquifers. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Bai L.,University of Texas at Arlington | Smuts J.,Vuv Analytics | Walsh P.,Vuv Analytics | Fan H.,University of Texas at Arlington | And 4 more authors.
Journal of Chromatography A | Year: 2015

The analysis of complex mixtures of permanent gases consisting of low molecular weight hydrocarbons, inert gases, and toxic species plays an increasingly important role in today's economy. A new gas chromatography detector based on vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectroscopy (GC-VUV), which simultaneously collects full scan (115-240nm) VUV and UV absorption of eluting analytes, was applied to analyze mixtures of permanent gases. Sample mixtures ranged from off-gassing of decomposing Li-ion and Li-metal batteries to natural gas samples and water samples taken from private wells in close proximity to unconventional natural gas extraction. Gas chromatography separations were performed with a porous layer open tubular column. Components such as C1-C5 linear and branched hydrocarbons, water, oxygen, and nitrogen were separated and detected in natural gas and the headspace of natural gas-contaminated water samples. Of interest for the transport of lithium batteries were the detection of flammable and toxic gases, such as methane, ethylene, chloromethane, dimethyl ether, 1,3-butadiene, CS2, and methylproprionate, among others. Featured is the capability for deconvolution of co-eluting signals from different analytes. © 2015 Elsevier B.V.


Carlton D.D.,University of Texas at Arlington | Fontenot B.E.,Independent Consultant | Fontenot B.E.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Hildenbrand Z.L.,Inform Environmental LLC | And 3 more authors.
International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology | Year: 2015

The quality of analytical measurements can be influenced by the matrix of the sample of interest. The knowledge of the sample matrix allows for appropriate sample preparation, instrumental parameters, and quantification methods in an effort to achieve accurate results. Matrix matching can be difficult when sampling across various water sources with the possible introduction of unknown endogenous contaminants due to various degrees of land use, urbanization, and energy exploration, likely playing a factor. The degree of matrix effects in inductively coupled plasma–optical emission spectroscopy for nineteen metals from twenty groundwater samples across North Texas was assessed using a standard addition method. Matrix effects were characterized in collected groundwater samples (a) with no pretreatment, (b) after reversed-phase solid-phase extraction of possible organic contaminants, and (c) for a matrix of organic material retained on the reversed-phase sorbent. It was found that without any extraction treatment, only 54 % of all measurements experienced no matrix effect. After extracting unknown organic sample constituents, an increase to 74 % of measurements showing no matrix effect was recorded. Reconstituting the extracted organic sample matrix found this fraction to be a significant source of the deviated results with only 13 % experiencing no matrix effect. Results for the metals investigated are also discussed, along with correlations to water quality parameters such as turbidity, total dissolved solids, and salinity. © 2015, Islamic Azad University (IAU).


Santos I.C.,University of Texas at Arlington | Hildenbrand Z.L.,Inform Environmental LLC | Hildenbrand Z.L.,University of Texas at Arlington | Schug K.A.,University of Texas at Arlington
Analyst | Year: 2016

Matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) is an emerging technique for microbial identification, characterization, and typing. The single colony method can be used for obtaining a protein fingerprint or profile unique to each microorganism. This technique has been mainly used in the clinical field, but it also has significant potential in the environmental field. The applications of MALDI-TOF MS in environmental microbiology are discussed in this review. An overview on the use of MALDI-TOF MS for environmental proteomics and metabolomics is given as well as its use for bacterial strain typing and bioremediation research. A more detailed review on the use of this technique for the identification, differentiation, and categorization of environmental microorganisms is given. Some of the parameters that can influence the results and reproducibility of MALDI-TOF MS are also discussed. © 2016 The Royal Society of Chemistry.


PubMed | University of Texas at Arlington, Inform Environmental LLC and Vuv Analytics
Type: | Journal: Journal of chromatography. A | Year: 2015

The analysis of complex mixtures of permanent gases consisting of low molecular weight hydrocarbons, inert gases, and toxic species plays an increasingly important role in todays economy. A new gas chromatography detector based on vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectroscopy (GC-VUV), which simultaneously collects full scan (115-240 nm) VUV and UV absorption of eluting analytes, was applied to analyze mixtures of permanent gases. Sample mixtures ranged from off-gassing of decomposing Li-ion and Li-metal batteries to natural gas samples and water samples taken from private wells in close proximity to unconventional natural gas extraction. Gas chromatography separations were performed with a porous layer open tubular column. Components such as C1-C5 linear and branched hydrocarbons, water, oxygen, and nitrogen were separated and detected in natural gas and the headspace of natural gas-contaminated water samples. Of interest for the transport of lithium batteries were the detection of flammable and toxic gases, such as methane, ethylene, chloromethane, dimethyl ether, 1,3-butadiene, CS2, and methylproprionate, among others. Featured is the capability for deconvolution of co-eluting signals from different analytes.

Loading Inform Environmental LLC collaborators
Loading Inform Environmental LLC collaborators