Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 2004

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Geosciences

Advisor

Ken Neuhauser

Abstract

In April of 1996, a visual inspection of a suspect brine spill site led to an electrical conductivity survey in order to detect and delineate a chloride plume in the S 1/2 Section 1, T14S, R15W in west-central Russell County, 45 miles east of Gorham, Kansas. On this ½ section 32 wells were drilled in the search for oil. As oil is produced, salt water (brine) is encountered, which needs to be disposed of. In the 1930s through early 1960s, pumping the brine into evaporation ponds seemed to be the solution; however, this method only dealt with the liquid, not the solids (salt crystals). Disposal wells were used to inject brine back into the deep authorized zones below the aquifers; however, spilled brine percolated through the earthen ponds into the shallow subsurface, rendering cropland useless and contaminating ground water. When the area is modeled, electrical conductivity data reveal high conductivity values where brine contamination occurs. The central region of the study area exhibits these high-conductivity, contaminated zones that can be attributed to brine spillage. It appears that the contaminant plume is concentrated around the anthropogenic surface oil features and is migrating to the south.

Rights

Copyright 2004 Roger L. Moses

Comments

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