Creating an electronic fence for detecting and localizing tailings pond leaks

Hydraulic fracturing accounts for a significant component of Canadian gas resource plays – and its use is ever increasing (Rivard et al., 2014). A particular environmental challenge associated with these operations is the need to establish tailing pits for the used fracking fluid (frack-ponds). Leakage of frack fluids from these ponds presents a significant, ongoing and growing environmental concern. This proposal is focused on developing an electronic fence, based on geophysical imaging methods – which are similar to those used in medical imaging, to provide a long-term monitoring solution to ensure that there is immediate identification of a leak, enabling a rapid response and effective remediation efforts. This system will focus on addressing three specific management issues:

1) Timing and location of the leak
2) Volume and spatial distribution of impacted subsurface
3) Migration velocity of the contaminant This new system will ensure that leaks are quickly identified and will enable responders to efficiently remediate the contaminated region.

Intern: 
Teddi Herring
Superviseur universitaire: 
Dr. Adam Pidlisecky
Project Year: 
2014
Province: 
Alberta
Programme: