Hydraulic Fracturing Advances (Available Only in Geoenvironmental Special Issue)

by Larry Murdoch, Prof.; Dept. of Geological Sciences, Clemson University, Clemson, SC,
Bill Slack, Engineer; FRx Inc., Cincinnati, OH,
Bob Siegrist, Engineer; Environmental Science and Engineering Division, Golden, CO,
Steve Vesper, Prof.; University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH,
Ted Meiggs, Chemist; Foremost Solutions, Golden, CO,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1997, Vol. 67, Issue 5, Pg. 10A-12A

Document Type: Feature article


Removing contaminants trapped in clays and nonpermeable soils can be difficult if not impossible with traditional extraction methods. A look at four hydraulic fracturing case studies shows how advances in this field are opening up sites that resist conventional remediation. Early developments in permeable barrier technology focused on intercepting horizontally moving contaminant plumes with vertical structures, such as trenches, to economically treat large volumes of contaminated water in a plume. Contaminant source areas, however, have so far proved difficult to treat with permeable barrier technology due to a lack of construction methods for horizontal structures capable of stopping downward-moving contaminants. New developments in hydraulic fracturing make it possible to fill horizontal fractures with compounds that alter the chemical composition of the subsurface and treat hard-to-reach areas.

Subject Headings: Hydraulic fracturing | Pollutants | Water pollution | Soil pollution | Plumes | Permeability (material) | Field tests

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