New hydraulic fracturing standards to be developed by ASTM water subcommittee

New standards for hydraulic fracturing will be developed by an ASTM International subcommittee to be used by businesses employing its applications.

W. CONSHOHOCKEN, PA, July 23, 2013 -- New standards for hydraulic fracturing will be developed by an ASTM International subcommittee to be used by contract laboratories, water utilities and other businesses employing the applications of fracking and related processes.

The new subcommittee will establish liaison with Subcommittee D18.26 on Hydraulic Fracturing, part of ASTM International Committee D18 on Soil and Rock, which was formed in 2012. In addition, D19.09 on Water -- Hydraulic Fracturing Fluids will work closely with the D19 Executive Section D19.90.04 to continue to coordinate communication with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on fracturing water issues. Subcommittee D19.09 is under the jurisdiction of ASTM International Committee D19 on Water. Standards developed by D19.09 will be used to assess water quality and determine impacts of a spill and possible contamination.

"Hydraulic fracturing is a hot environmental topic that involves a wide array of contaminant analysis, including organic, inorganic and radioisotopes," says Richard Jack, North American environmental marketing manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and a member of D19. "In order to avoid confusion, increase communication and have a focused approach in which we can share information, it was decided to form a subcommittee specifically focused on hydraulic fracturing."

For example, "D19.09 standards can be used by drinking water utilities that want to assess their raw water and determine if increased salts, radioisotopes or metals are present. Of particular concern are increased concentrations of bromide, which can result in the formation of disinfection by products during the water purification process," says Jack. "Companies that desalinate fracking waters for reuse will need to determine the concentration of anions, cations and metals."

According to Jack, the subcommittee is currently developing the proposed standard WK40832, Test Method for Measurement of Dissolved Gases Methane, Ethane, Ethylene and Propane by Static Headspace Sampling and Flame Ionization Detection (GC/FID). All parties interested in developing standards related to hydraulic fracturing water are encouraged to join D19.09.

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