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Potential Impacts of Shale Gas Development on Inorganic Groundwater Chemistry: Implications for Environmental Baseline Assessment in Shallow Aquifers

Abstract : The potential contamination of shallow groundwater with inorganic constituents is a major environmental concern associated with shale gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing. However, the impact of shale gas development on groundwater quality is a highly controversial issue. The only way to reliably assess whether groundwater quality has been impacted by shale gas development is to collect pre-development baseline data against which subsequent changes in groundwater quality can be compared. The objective of this paper is to provide a conceptual and methodological framework for establishing a baseline of inorganic groundwater quality in shale gas areas, which is becoming standard practice as a prerequisite for evaluating shale gas development impacts on shallow aquifers. For this purpose, this paper first reviews the potential sources of inorganic contaminants in shallow groundwater from shale gas areas. Then, it reviews the previous baseline studies of groundwater geochemistry in shale gas areas, showing that a comprehensive baseline assessment includes documenting the natural sources of salinity, potential geogenic contamination, and potential anthropogenic influences from legacy contamination and surface land use activities that are not related to shale gas development. Based on this knowledge, best practices are identified in terms of baseline sampling, selection of inorganic baseline parameters, and definition of threshold levels.
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Soumis le : jeudi 4 août 2022 - 14:52:19
Dernière modification le : jeudi 4 août 2022 - 14:56:20

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Raphaël Bondu, Wolfram Kloppmann, Maria Naumenko-Dèzes, Pauline Humez, Bernhard Mayer. Potential Impacts of Shale Gas Development on Inorganic Groundwater Chemistry: Implications for Environmental Baseline Assessment in Shallow Aquifers. Environmental Science and Technology, American Chemical Society, 2021, 55 (14), pp.9657-9671. ⟨10.1021/acs.est.1c01172⟩. ⟨hal-03745726⟩

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