Efficacy of oil and gas produced water as a dust suppressant

Audrey M. Stallworth, Eric H. Chase, Bonnie McDevitt, Katherine K. Marak, Miriam Arak Freedman, Robin Taylor Wilson, William D. Burgos, Nathaniel R. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The effectiveness of oil and gas produced water (OGPW) applied to unpaved roads to reduce particulate matter (PM10) generation has not been well-characterized. Here we quantify the efficacy of OGPW compared to commercial and alternative byproducts as dust suppressants applied to unpaved roads and estimate efficacy of a dust suppressant extrapolated from both lab experiments and published data for OGPW across U.S. states. Both treated and untreated OGPW, simulated brines, and commercial dust suppressants were characterized by major and trace element composition and then applied to road aggregate in the laboratory. PM10 generation after treatment was quantified, both before and after simulated rain events to assess the need for multiple applications. We found the dust suppression efficacy of all OGPW to be less than commercial products and alternative byproducts such as waste soybean oil. In addition, OGPW lost efficacy following simulated rain events, which would require repeated applications of OGPW to maintain dust suppression. The dust suppression efficacy of OGPW can be estimated based on two chemical measurements, the sodium absorption ratio (SAR) and the total dissolved solids (TDS). OGPW with the lowest SAR and highest TDS performed best as dust suppressants while high SAR and lower TDS led to greater dust generation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number149347
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Dec 10 2021


  • Brine
  • Gravel
  • Roads


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