Brine Contamination to Plains and Potholes Environments from Energy Development in the Williston Basin
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Science Team about Energy and Plains and Potholes Environments (STEPPE)
In the United States, the Williston Basin occupies 143,000 square miles and includes portions of Montana, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Superimposed over this landscape is the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) which includes critical wetland and grassland habitats of importance to breeding, nesting, and migrating waterfowl, and wetland and grassland birds. A potential impact of oil field activities on these important habitats is brine contamination from co-produced waters that leach from oil well reserve pits, injection wells, and transport lines. Previous studies have identified contamination of wetlands and groundwater resources, including drinking water aquifers, located on U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), tribal, and public lands, and numerous groups have expressed concern over the potential risk of contamination. Currently, the extent of such contamination across the Williston Basin is unknown, and there is a need for scientific-based information to assess this threat.
Click here to learn more about other USGS projects in the Williston Basin.
Recent STEPPE News features:
The Bakken Magezine: USGS continues research on water in the Williston Basin
USGS Science Feature: Understanding the Relation between Energy and the Environment using Integrated Science
AAPG Explorer: Saline Water in Bakken: Where Did it Come From?