Chemical and bioanalytical assessment of coal seam gas associated water

Tang, Janet, Taulis, Mauricio, Edebeli, Jacinta, Leusch, Frederic, Jagals, Paul, Jackson, Gregory, & Escher, Beate (2015) Chemical and bioanalytical assessment of coal seam gas associated water. Environmental Chemistry, 12(3), pp. 267-285.

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A comprehensive study was undertaken involving chemical (inorganic and organic) and bioanalytical (a suite of 14 in vitro bioassays) assessments of coal seam gas (coal bed methane) associated water (CSGW) in Queensland, Australia. CSGW is a by-product of the gas extraction process and is generally considered as water of poor quality. This was done to better understand what is known about the potential biological and environmental effects associated with the organic constituents of CSGW in Australia. In Queensland, large amounts of associated water must be withdrawn from coal seams to allow extraction of the gas. CSGW is disposed of via release to surface water, reinjected to groundwater or reused for irrigation of crops or pasture, supplied for power station cooling and or reinjected specifically to augment drinking water aquifers. Groundwater samples were collected from private wells tapping into the Walloon Coal Measures, the same coal aquifer exploited for coal seam gas production in the Surat Basin, Australia. The inorganic characteristics of these water samples were almost identical to the CSGW entering the nearby gas company operated Talinga-Condabri Water Treatment Facility. The water is brackish with a pH of 8 to 9, high sodium, bicarbonate and chloride concentrations but low calcium, magnesium and negligible sulphate concentrations. Only low levels of polyaromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were detected in the water samples, and neither phenols nor volatile organic compounds were found. Results from the bioassays showed no genotoxicity, protein damage, or activation of hormone receptors (with the exception of the estrogen receptor). However, five of the 14 bioassays gave positive responses: an arylhydrocarbon-receptor gene activation assay (AhR-CAFLUX), estrogenic endocrine activity (ERα-CALUX), oxidative stress response (AREc32), interference with cytokine production (THP1-CPA) and non-specific toxicity (Microtox). The observed effects were benchmarked against known water sources and were similar to secondary treated wastewater effluent, stormwater and surface water. As mixture toxicity modelling demonstrated, the detected PAHs explained less than 5% of the observed biological effects.

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2 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 73961
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Chemical toxicology, Water Chemistry, Groundwater, Coal Seam Gas
DOI: 10.1071/EN14054
ISSN: 1448-2517
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EARTH SCIENCES (040000) > OTHER EARTH SCIENCES (049900) > Earth Sciences not elsewhere classified (049999)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES (050000) > ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE AND MANAGEMENT (050200) > Environmental Management (050205)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES (110000) > PUBLIC HEALTH AND HEALTH SERVICES (111700) > Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety (111705)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Current > Institutes > Institute for Future Environments
Deposited On: 15 Jul 2014 22:45
Last Modified: 19 Jun 2015 01:19

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