Aquifer Quality Assessment Program

The Desert Research Institute (DRI) is conducting an Aquifer Quality Assessment (AQUA) Program to analyze the potential for subsurface migration of hydraulic fracturing fluids within the hydrographic basin. The purpose of the project is to determine if there is a potential for hydraulic fracturing fluids to migrate away from exploration areas. 

The following information describes the project and links to each subsequent report. 

Program ManagerPrincipal InvestigatorFunded by
Jim Thomas Greg Pohll Noble Energy

Project Title: Assessment of Chemical Migration Potential from Hydraulic Fracturing in the Upper Humboldt River Basin, Nevada

Project Stakeholders: Noble Energy, Nevada Division of Environmental Protection, Nevada Division of Minerals

Project Description

Noble Energy is beginning exploration activities of hydrocarbon resources on 370,000 leased acres in Elko County, NV.  The oil play is expected to be in low permeable shale and will require hydraulic fracturing.  The exploration wells will be drilled on a combination of private lands and lands managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management located in the Upper Humboldt River Basin stretching from the Mary’s River Valley southwest along the west side of the Ruby Mountains to the Huntington River Valley to the south. 

DRI is conducting an AQUA Program to analyze the potential for subsurface migration of hydraulic fracturing fluids within the hydrographic basin. The Program consists of three phases:

  1. Determine the local hydrologic conditions and the maximum amount of chemicals to be used in a single stage of stimulation treatment
  2. Intermediate phase to document the results of the water quality monitoring
  3. Final phase will include the development of a computer model to determine the chemical  migration potential following hydraulic fracturing

Reports

Phase I Report: Preliminary Assessment of Hydraulic Fracturing Fluid Concentrations and Hydrologic Conditions in Noble Development Area #2, Upper Humboldt River Basin, Schumer and Pohll, February, 2014.

Phase II Report: Water‐Quality Data, Hydraulic Fracturing in the Upper Humboldt River Basin, Aquifer Quality Assessment Program, Report 2

Phase III Report: Interim Final Report, Hydraulic Fracturing in the Upper Humboldt River Basin, Aquifer Quality Assessment Program (58.9M)