Our Experience

NORM Analysis for Fracking Industry

GEL has unique experience in the analysis of high saline and high solids groundwater as well as soils for NORM constituents to support the fracking industry. 

The Client

Marcellus and Utica Shale Play water recycling companies

The Challenge

The rapid development of the oil and gas hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” industry has put a strain on freshwater supplies in many shale plays across the US.  As a result, the flow-back and production water treatment industry has expanded the capacity to treat and recycle recovered water for reuse at new frack wells.  Typical flow-back and production waters from the Marcellus and Utica Shale formations have Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) concentrations ranging from 25,000 to 600,000 parts per million.  The majority of the high TDS is due to the exceptionally high salt content, which provides extreme analytical challenges for accurate determination of NORM (Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material) & TENORM (Technologically Enhanced NORM) by gamma spectroscopy.  Additionally, the industry is faced with evolving regulatory issues related to the disposal of liquids and solids generated from the treatment processes.

GEL Labs Services Provided

Through the experience that GEL has with Department of Energy (DOE) sites and the nuclear power industry, we have developed a complete set of complex and robust methodologies, which effectively deal with the interferences inherent in these types of samples.  Because of the high degree of quality assurance and quality control that DOE requires, GEL has experience in providing reliable analysis for NORM constituents, primarily Radium 226 and Radium 228.  We developed standard gamma spectroscopy methods but also have the ability to perform 24-hour quick turn gamma spectroscopy and a more definitive isotope specific 72-hour alpha spectroscopy analysis.

The Result

GEL routinely reports NORM constituent analysis for multiple petroleum derived water recycling clients.  Additionally, GEL performs waste profile characterization of solids, sediments, filter cake and equipment which meets regulatory and waste acceptance criteria for local, municipal, low level and high level waste processors and disposal facilities.  Recently, GEL has extended our services to clients in the Bakken, Eagle Ford and Permian Basin shale plays.  For more information on GEL’s services to support this industry, please contact Bob Seyer at [email protected].