Widespread Salt Contamination Mapped on 15,000 Acre Ranch

Lithochimeia was retained to investigate current and historic saltwater releases on a large ranch in northeast OK . 

Review of air photos showed numerous areas potentially impacted by salt contamination on the ranch.

Lithochimeia conducted frequency domain electromagnetic (EM) Terrain Conductivity Surveys using a Geonics EM-31-MK2 ground conductivity meter over areas potentially contaminated by saltwater in areas surrounding tank batteries, pumping units, flowline routes, and areas of visible surface damage.  EM Surveys use the principle of electromagnetic induction to measure the conductivity of the subsurface based on soil electrical properties and chemistry of pore fluids.  EM Surveys do not require ground contact and therefore allow rapid data acquisition.   Data can be processed and viewed in near real time.

In all, over 2 million square meters (540 acres) of surface area was surveyed using the EM-31-MK2 ground conductivity meter.  This was accomplished in in less than four weeks because of the ability to rapidly acquire data this geophysical method provides.

Results of the Terrain Conductivity Survey indicated probable widespread contamination of large portions of the ranch by high salinity produced water. The results of the Terrain Conductivity Survey were then confirmed by soil and water sampling and laboratory analysis.

Characterization of contamination this widespread through air-photo analysis, on-ground visual inspection and direct sampling alone would require collecting hundreds of samples and would be very expensive. When applicable, modern geophysical methods provide cost-effective and time-efficient solutions for projects requiring both large amounts of information while maintaining high data density.