on the environment, and the degree of connectivity among water-bearing coalbeds, other groundwater aquifers, and surface water;

  • potential beneficial uses of CBM produced water and costs for various water treatment, storage, or use strategies;

  • documented and potential effects of CBM produced water on surface and groundwater resources, soil, and ecological systems and ways in which those effects could be monitored and mitigated; and

  • challenges in the existing regulatory framework for CBM produced water management.

Although directed toward CBM basins in the arid West, the report bears on CBM production and produced water issues in other CBM basins in the United States. To date, no


Statement of Task

This study will examine the effects of CBM development and produced water on water and soil resources in the western states of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, North Dakota, and Wyoming. Specifically, the study will:

  1. Briefly review existing and ongoing studies by federal agencies related to CBM produced water effects and management including water treatment, use, storage, and disposal; environmental (natural and human) effects; and water quality and quantity.

  2. Identify the major federal and state data resources available for CBM produced water management including those available for topics in (1), above, and identify the major factors influencing CBM produced water chemistry and potential toxicity; the baseline data necessary for effective management of CBM produced water; data gaps, if any, and any additional need for data.

  3. Identify the major positive and negative effects of CBM produced water treatment, use, storage, and disposal on the quality and quantity of surface and ground water resources, including environmental effects documented by public and private stakeholders.

  4. Review existing federal and state regulations that address the management and potential effects of CBM produced water on surface and ground water resources.

  5. Evaluate the effectiveness of current and emerging best management practices and production techniques for CBM produced water management options in terms of the minimization of potential negative impacts to water resources.

  6. Discuss the costs for produced water management options, including existing and emerging techniques used in water treatment, use, storage, and disposal.

When evaluating the effects of CBM development on water resources, relevant geological, geochemical, hydrological, ecological, environmental, social, and health factors, water rights issues, and historical and projected CBM production volumes will be considered.

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