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Tracking solutes and water from subsurface drip irrigation application of coalbed methane–produced waters, Powder River Basin, Wyoming

Environmental Geosciences  

September 2011

Mark A. Engle, Carleton R. Bern, Richard W. Healy, James I. Sams, John W. Zupancic, and Karl T. Schroedercover_EG_journal


One method to beneficially use water produced from coalbed methane (CBM) extraction is subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) of croplands. In SDI systems,treated CBM water (injectate) is supplied to the soil at depth, with the purpose of preventing the buildup of detrimental salts near the surface.The technology is expanding within the Powder River Basin, but little research has been published on its environmental impacts. This article reports on initial results from tracking water and solutes from the injected CBM produced waters at an SDI system in Johnson County, Wyoming.


Santos visits BeneTerra in US

Two members of the Santos irrigation team, David MacFarlane and Andrew Snars, toured BeneTerra irrigation projects and research facilities in Wyoming on 20 and 21 June, 2011.  They were accompanied by consulting soil scientists from MWH, Stuart Macnish and Justin Adams.  While there the Santos/MWH group engaged with Tim Kalus of Anadarko, the groundwater team from the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, Carl Bern with the US Geological Survey and the BeneTerra staff.



MD addresses ASSSI

On 11 May 2011, BeneTerra’s Managing Director spoke to the Queensland branch of the Australian Soil Science Society about the company’s experiences with coal seam gas water in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.  He described why and how the company adapted subsurface drip irrigation for dispersal of CSG water in a frigid climate.  Results from studies undertaken by the US Geological Survey were shared with the group.  An hour-long question and answer session followed the talk resulting in a dialogue on the impacts of CSG.



Interview with Queensland Country Life on community benefits of CSG

The weekly regional newspaper, Queensland Country Life, interviewed John Zupancic of BeneTerra about his experiences with coal seam gas development in the Wyoming’s Powder River Basin. Zupancic pointed out that there have been many benefits to development that are rarely mentioned such as professional job opportunities for young people in or near their home town.