WSGS Identifies Low-Quality Groundwater For Industry Use

Jan 4, 2021

The Green River at Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge.
Credit USFWS

The Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS) is studying groundwater quality across the state.

WSGS hydrogeologist Karl Taboga said the goal was to identify high and low quality water. In order to classify that, researchers measured salinity, or the amount of salt in water. In general, Taboga said it increases as you move deeper underground.

The WSGS has explored the Greater Green River, Powder River and Denver-Julesburg basins.

"There's quite a bit of water being produced in all of these basins as a result of oil and gas activities," said Taboga. "Rather than wasting this water once it's produced, we're looking at ways to classify the salinity in this water so that the water can be reused."

He said the energy industry should reuse the low-quality water. That saves fresh water for municipal and agricultural use.

"You don't want to see poor quality groundwater go to waste," said Taboga. "Industry can use groundwater of lower quality rather than using fresh water."

He said they mapped the low and high quality water, making it easier to manage.

Have a question about this story? Please contact the reporter, Ashley Piccone, at apiccone@uwyo.edu.