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Contamination of soil with oilfield brine and reclamation with calcium chloride

, : Contamination of soil with oilfield brine and reclamation with calcium chloride. Soil Science 150(1): 469-475

Contamination of soils with oilfield brines is a significant environmental problem in many oil production areas. We used soil column technique to study details of the brine contamination process and subsequent reclamation of contaminated soil with CaCl2. Cherry silt loam (fine-silty, mixed, frigid typic Ustochrepts) was contaminated with brine of 0.9 mole fraction NaCl in total electrolyte concentration of 3000 mol (p+) m-3 under conditions approximating steady-state miscible displacement. Dispersion of observed Na breakthrough during contamination was only marginally greater than that of Cl. The isotherm for Ca exchange by Na is ordinarily unfavorable with large associated exchange-dispersion in miscible displacement. However, the strength of brine used here was high enough to render exchange quasifavorable. Calculations under a simple exchange-chromatographic model indicated that Na flux in these conditions would be subject to a relatively small level of exchange-dispersion. Sufficient Ca was applied (0.24 mol m-3 CaCl2 in 0.2 liter) to replace exchangeable Na (ES) in the uppermost 16 cm of brine-contaminated columns (inside diameter, 12.7 cm), which were then leached with either distilled water (DW) or synthesized saline groundwater (SW; SAR = 5.9, electrolyte = 53 mol (p+) m-3). Leaching was continued until soil dispersion occurred, with 0.54 and 0.68 pore volumes, respectively, of DW and SW infiltrated. Reclamation was demonstrated to be very efficient, with an 89% and 92% removal of ES through the upper 16-cm soil depth being accomplished by DW and SW, respectively.


DOI: 10.1097/00010694-199007000-00010

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