Chuong Nguyen

Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Chemistry


Chemistry and Biochemistry

First Advisor

Kevin A Schug


Unconventional oil and gas extraction activities, including hydraulic fracturing, are a collection of processes used to liberate significant quantities of natural gas and oil in the United States. Many extraction sites are located in large cities, close to residential areas. In some cases, operational malfunctions can result in spills of thousands of gallons of produced waste water and pose a threat of contaminating underground or surface water resources. Produced water contains a complex mixture of salts, volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, metals, organic acids, and particulates, as well as additives from the drilling process. In this study, we tested the potential for wastewater treatment using a household grade commercial Brita pitcher filter which uses coconut-based activated carbon with ion exchange resin. In normal usage, a Brita filter can be used with up to 40 gallons of tap water to reduce chlorine taste and odor, zinc, and harmful contaminants copper, mercury and cadmium. A variety of analytical instruments, including GC-FID, GC-MS, TOC, and ICP-OES were used for qualitative and quantitative analysis of water before and after passage through the filter. GC-MS analysis of total petroleum hydrocarbons, based on extraction of the characteristic ion at 57 m/z, showed a decrease in branched hydrocarbon content, in agreement with total organic carbon analysis. Metal analysis with ICP-OES also showed a small reduction in Ba, Be, Ca, Na, and other metals, but not enough to be below safe drinking standards. In general, this work serves to illustrate that drinking water contaminated with waste water from the oil and gas industry may not be reliably treated using this widely-used household product.


Produced water, Analytical instruments, Total petroleum hydrocarbons


Chemistry | Physical Sciences and Mathematics


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

Included in

Chemistry Commons