Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Kevin A Schug


Increasing energy demands from the nation and technological advancement in well development have led to the rapid expansion of unconventional oil and gas extraction. Current disposal methods for wastewater generated from the development of low porosity formations are not environmentally sustainable. The billions of gallons of highly variable, chemically-rich wastewater, referred to as produced water, is frequently sequestered in subsurface, non-productive stratum through injection wells. Cost-effective options to treat produced water are being sought as an alternative to injection wells to prevent the loss of water from the water cycle and decrease anthropologically induced seismic events. Ultimately, it has been determined that the feasibility of reusing produced water hinges on the water quality. Twenty-four unconventional development wastewater samples were evaluated from South and West Texas to characterize their variability and to assess the feasibility for direct reuse without treatment. Analytical methods were used to evaluate the samples; the results were compared to reuse thresholds. Based on published reuse guidelines, the directed reuse of produced water for subsequent well development is not a suitable option without treatment. Therefore, forward osmosis, an osmotically-driven process, was evaluated as a remediation option for produced water. Three studies were conducted using forwarded osmosis to remediate produced water from the Permian Basin. First, was a fundamental study that determined forward osmosis is a feasible remediation option for the high salinity waste stream with total dissolved solids ranging from 16,000 to 210,000 mg/L. The second study was used to determine that the decrease in flux measured during experimental trials was due to irreversible fouling on the membrane’s surface. Finally, the efficacy of pretreating the wastewater prior to remediation using forward osmosis was assessed. Throughout the studies, various analytical methods were used to validate the effectiveness of using forward osmosis as a remediation approach for of produced water.


Unconventional Development, Remediation, Forward osmosis, Produced water, Analytical characterization


Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Chemistry Commons