Spills of hydraulic fracturing chemicals on agricultural topsoil: Biodegradation, sorption, and co-contaminant interactions

Hydraulic fracturing frequently occurs on agricultural land. Yet the extent of sorption, transformation, and interactions among the numerous organic frac fluid and oil and gas wastewater constituents upon environmental release is hardly known. Thus, this study aims to advance our current understanding of processes that control the environmental fate and toxicity of commonly used hydraulic fracturing chemicals. Poly(ethylene glycol) surfactants were completely biodegraded in agricultural topsoil within 42–71 days, but their transformation was impeded in the presence of the biocide glutaraldehyde and was completely inhibited by salt at concentrations typical for oil and gas wastewater.

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