Spatial and Temporal Variability of Drilling Reserve Pit Fluids on the North Slope (
by Mark M. McDermott, ARCO Alaska Inc, Anchorage, AK, USA,
Kevin C. Myers, ARCO Alaska Inc, Anchorage, AK, USA,
Abstract: Reserve pits are constructed in connection with drilling activities to provide a convenient and safe disposal site for waste drilling muds and cuttings. During the winter months at Prudhoe Bay, a considerable volume of drifting snow can accumulate in these pits. At spring breakup, fluids are removed to prevent dike overtopping or breaching. Several disposal techniques are practiced including direct discharge to the tundra environment. The study referred to in this abstract evaluates changes in water quality by examining the spatial and temporal variability of the pit fluids beginning at breakup and continuing through the summer months. The focus of the monitoring effort was on the specific conductance parameter and metals arsenic, barium and chromium. Study results indicate the thaw cycle progresses through three distinct phases of temporal variability: surface melt, mixing and stabilization.
Subject Headings: Water quality | Drilling | Water pollution | Spatial variability | Waste sites | Slopes | Wells (oil and gas) | Fluid flow
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