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Microbiology of Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater

Lipus, Daniel (2017) Microbiology of Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The extraction of natural gas and oil from shale formations using hydraulic fracturing generates large volumes of wastewater, often termed produced water. One of the biggest challenges associated with produced water management is microbial activity. Microorganisms growing in produced water may have the ability to form biofilms and produce acids and sulfides, which can contribute to biocorrosion and gas souring. This dissertation investigates the microbial ecology of microorganisms living in produced water by studying their community structure and metabolic potential as well as the active, genetic response of Pseudomonas biofilms to the biocide sodium hypochlorite to inform microbial control. First, storage guidelines for hydraulic fracturing produced waters intended for microbiological analysis were developed. Results suggested microbial communities in produced water samples to remain stable when stored at 4oC for three days or less. Next, the microbial ecology of 42 Marcellus Shale produced water samples was analyzed. Samples were dominated by the taxa Halanaerobiales, specifically the genus Halanaerobium. Subsequently, metagenomic sequencing and binning allowed the recovery and annotation of a Halanaerobium draft genome. Annotation results suggested Halanaerobium to have the metabolic potential for acid production and sulfide production through thiosulfate reduction. Microbiological assessment of produced waters from 18 Bakken Shale wells, sampled across a six-month time frame, confirmed the presence of Halanaerobium in produced water. However, the microbial community structure was found to change temporally, and the majority of the samples were dominated by the order Bacillales. Finally, the active, genetic response to the broad-spectrum biocide sodium hypochlorite, which is also used for microbial control in hydraulic fracturing operations, was assessed. Pseudomonas fluorescens biofilms were exposed to sublethal concentrations of sodium hypochlorite and differential genes expression was analyzed. Results suggested genes involved in oxidative stress response pathways and multidrug efflux mechanisms to be upregulated, demonstrating genetic components to be involved in sodium hypochlorite resistance. Ultimately, findings from this dissertation enhance the current understanding of microbial community dynamics in produced water and may help to limit corrosion, control fouling and souring issues, protect well infrastructure, and minimize unnecessary biocide application.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Lipus, DanielDal124@pitt.eduDal124
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBibby,
Committee MemberVidic,
Committee MemberGilbertson,
Committee MemberGregory,
Date: 26 September 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 15 June 2017
Approval Date: 26 September 2017
Submission Date: 27 July 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 221
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Hydraulic Fracturing, Microbiology, Produced Water, Metagenomics, Microorganisms
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2017 20:00
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2017 20:00

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