Cleaning up oil exploration’s dirty water

By Peter Kent

Clemson environmental scientists conducting wetland researchDrilling for oil and natural gas can contaminate water that comes out of the ground during production … amounting to billions of gallons of lost water resources.

Clemson environmental scientists Jim Castle and John Rodgers are investigating economical and environmentally sensible ways to treat the contaminatedwater for reuse.The focus of their research is constructed wetland systems. A constructed wetland is an artificial marsh or swamp to filter pollutants from water. This can provide habitat for wildlife, and help reclaim land after mining. The research is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and Chevron Corporation.

Their work may help the nation achieve both energy selfsufficiency and environmental sustainability. Department of Energy experts say that water “comprises 98 percent of all waste generated by U.S. oil and natural gas operations. Handling and disposal of this water is the single greatest environmental impediment to natural gas and oil exploration and production.”

For information: John Rodgers, 864-656-0492,