Final Report: IPEC University of Tulsa (TU)

EPA Grant Number: X832428
Center: IPEC University of Tulsa (TU)
Center Director: Sublette, Kerry L.
Title: IPEC University of Tulsa (TU)
Investigators: Sublette, Kerry L. , Babcock, Robert E. , Gasem, Khaled A , Suflita, Joseph
Institution: University of Tulsa , Oklahoma State University , University of Arkansas - Fayetteville , University of Oklahoma
EPA Project Officer: Lasat, Mitch
Project Period: October 12, 2005 through October 11, 2006 (Extended to June 30, 2007)
Project Amount: $70,740
RFA: Integrated Petroleum Environmental Consortium (IPEC) (1999) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Targeted Research

Objective:

In FY98, initial funding was provided by Congress for the establishment of the Integrated Petroleum Environmental Consortium (IPEC). The mission of IPEC was to develop cost-effective solutions for the environmental problems that represented the greatest challenge to the competitiveness of the domestic petroleum industry and provide much needed technology transfer to the small independent producers.
 
Funded through the Office of Research and Development of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (ORD-EPA), the consortium produced a research center that included The University of Tulsa, The University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University, and The University of Arkansas. IPEC’s operating practices and linkages to the independent sector ensured that real problems in the domestic petroleum industry were addressed with real, workable solutions.

Summary/Accomplishments (Outputs/Outcomes):

Center Focus - Funded Technology Development Projects:
 
Technology development projects funded under Grant #X83242801 have included:
 
“Nematodes as Ecological Indicators of Soil Ecosystem Restoration at E&P Sites” – University of Tulsa
 
The objective of this project was to generate a data set that could be used by the scientific community, the petroleum industry, and regulators to determine the efficacy of using nematode community analysis as an ecological indicator in E&P settings. Specifically, it investigated nematode population dynamics at a number of E&P sites in various stages of remediation and restoration in various climates to develop a robust dataset.
 
“Developing a Low-Cost Approach to Remediation of Historic Brine Scars” – University of Tulsa 
The objective of this project was to apply and test results from mining reclamation research in the remediation and restoration of historic brine scars. Specifically, it sought to determine whether patch planting of vegetation (switchgrass and legumes) accelerated revegetation and the soil building process in these sites following adequate removal of brine components. Observations of significant subsurface lateral movement of brine from the scar made the original remediation methodology somewhat risky. Therefore, the remediation protocol was changed to include re-contouring and installing drainage ponds. Significant natural revegetation was obtained. The land owner (The Nature Conservancy) continues to monitor this site with our assistance. Switchgrass and legumes will be planted as soon as brine concentrations are low enough.
 
“Assessing Biodegradation Potential Using in Situ Microcosms and 13C-labeled Hydrocarbons” – University of Tulsa
 
This project sought to further prove the efficacy of employing Bio-Sep® bio-traps pre-loaded with 13Chydrocarbons in BTEX-contaminated aquifers to provide absolute proof of in situ biodegradation potential and obtain regulatory approval for the use of the technique in Oklahoma, Colorado, Texas, and California. Biotraps are now a commercial product and have been used with regulatory approval throughout the United States and Europe.
 
“Analysis of MTBE and TBA Biodegradation and Remediation of MTBE-and TBA-Contaminated Aquifers Using a New Generation of Bio-Sep® Beads” – University of Tulsa
 
The principle goal of this project was the development and field testing of bio-traps capable of being pre-loaded with 13C-labeled MTBE of TBA without significant leaching of the organics under aquifer conditions over a 30-day incubation period. This project was successful, leading to commercial application.
 
“Using Plants to Remediate Petroleum-Contaminated Soil: Project Continuation” – University of Arkansas
 
Crude oil contamination of soil often occurs adjacent to wellheads and storage facilities. Phytoremediation is a promising tool that can be used to remediate such sites and uses plants and agronomic techniques to enhance biodegradation of hydrocarbons. This project conducted a field study to evaluate the effects of fertilizer and vegetation establishment on phytoremediation of crude-oil contaminated soil.
 
“Effective Stormwater and Sediment Control During Pipeline Construction Using a New Filter Fence Concept” – Oklahoma State University
 
Sediment has recently become an emphasis in the EPA NPDES storm water rules because of its impact on habitat and the macro-invertebrates in stream channels. This is particularly critical for pipelines and will become even more important under Phase II of the Clean Water Act. Current sediment control BMP technology for linear construction and brine reclamation projects is primarily limited to silt fence since it does not cause significant additional disruptions to the landscape during installation and removal. Since silt fence has been found to be practically ineffective in a recent national study, this project addressed modifications of current technology to make silt fence effective.
 
“Paraffin Control in Oil Wells Using Anaerobic Microorganisms” – University of Oklahoma
 
Paraffins that form waxy deposits upon removal from reservoirs have been implicated in numerous oil field problems leading to reductions in oil recovery. The concept of microbial paraffin control measures has much to recommend it in offering substantial cost and safety advantages over more traditional practices such as hot oiling. The objective of this project was to determine the feasibility of using anaerobic microbial inocula to effectively treat paraffin deposition in reservoirs and on oil production equipment.
 
“Fiber Rolls as a Tool for Re-vegetation of Oil-Brine Contaminated Watersheds” – University of Arkansas
 
In situ bioremediation provides an economical, minimally intrusive method to restore produced water spill sites. The success of in situ bioremediation, however, is varied depending upon spill and site characteristics. One promising technique that remained to be tested involves the use of fiber rolls. Fiber rolls are formed from a geotextile tube filled with organic fiber, mycorrhizal fungal inoculum, soil (to provide inoculum for natural soil microbes) and salt-tolerant plants. Fiber rolls may serve a variety of ecological functions including primary productivity, filtering sediments, moisture and nutrient retention, and a source of on-site mature plants for vegetative growth or propagules. This project evaluated the contribution of fiber rolls to restoration of a historic oil brine scar in South Arkansas.
 
“Utilization of the Carbon and Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Individual Compounds in Refined Hydrocarbon Products to Monitor Their Fate in the Environment” – University of Oklahoma (Year 2 of 2-year Project)
 
The goal of this work was to develop a method utilizing compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA), which could be successfully applied to contaminated sites to demonstrate the onset of natural attenuation of contaminants and monitor the extent and progress of this attenuation.
 
“Toward Improved Monitoring and Control of Microbiologically Influenced Corrosion (MIC)” – University of Oklahoma
 
Biofilm bacterial communities from a bench-scale flow loop designed to provide a model system for the examination of pitting corrosion in pipelines were assayed using PLFA and DNA-based molecular methods to determine which bacteria might be key members in corrosion-producing biofilms. A variety of samples from the field were examined in order to test whether the proposed bacteria were broadly indicative of bacterial communities that produced pitting corrosion.
 
“Microbial Enhanced Energy Recovery Via the Production of Methane from Residual Hydrocarbons in Oklahoma Reservoirs” – University of Oklahoma
 
This project was designed to evaluate the utility of using an anaerobic bacterial consortium capable of converting oil in petroliferous reservoirs to methane and carbon dioxide. The objective of this project was to determine the rate and efficiency of conversion of petroleum hydrocarbons entrained in a marginally producing reservoir as a source of natural gas production.
 
Available quarterly and final reports may be accessed on the center website at http://ipec.utulsa.edu.
 
 
Technology Transfer:
IPEC’s technology transfer program was directed toward providing useful tools for environmental compliance and cost reduction to independent producers. The first objective of this program was to raise the level of technical training of the field inspectors of the oil and gas regulatory bodies of Oklahoma and Arkansas, including the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, the Arkansas Oil and Gas Commission, and the Osage Agency of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with regard to first response to spills, pollution prevention, and remediation of oil and brine spills. The second objective of this program was the development of checklists and tools for independent producers to assist them in environmental audits (“staying out of trouble checklists”), remediation of oil and brine spills, and first response to spills. Oklahoma and Arkansas regulatory field agents were used to deliver these tools to the independent producers. The technology transfer program also produced an IPEC website (http://ipec.utulsa.edu) with basic information about the consortium, as well as results of ongoing research. IPEC also co-sponsored the annual International Petroleum Environmental Conference, which showcased national and international environmental research concerning the oil and gas industry.
 
The overall structure of the IPEC Technology Transfer program encompassed the following items:
 
  1. Establishing and maintaining a world wide web page to showcase results of funded technology development projects, proceedings of the yearly conference, facilitate the distribution of tools for independent producers and disseminate news items, announcements, etc. (http://ipec.utulsa.edu);
  2. Developing workshops for independent producers on remediation and first response to spills of produced fluids;
  3. Developing workshops for independent producers on regulatory compliance;
  4. Establishing scholarships for regulatory technical personnel for participation in the International Petroleum Environmental Conference;
  5. Developing and distributing self-assessment kits, site checklists, soil and water analysis kits, remediation guidelines for oil and brine spills, and instructional videos and DVDs to aid independent producers and regulators in the field.
  6. Establishing a position of Technology Transfer Outreach Manager in order to continue to expand and improve the consortium technology transfer program; and
  7. Co-sponsoring the yearly International Petroleum Environmental Conference designed to explore issues and solutions in exploration, production and refining.

Conclusions:

Funded by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Office of Research and Development, the mission of IPEC was to increase the competitiveness of the domestic petroleum industry through a reduction in the costs of compliance with U.S. Environmental regulations. Specifically, IPEC has:
 
  • developed cost effective technologies to meet the challenges of environmental regulations to the competitiveness of the domestic petroleum industry.
  • trained environmental professionals as an investment in technology and policy development.
  • disseminated information regarding technology development and legal and regulatory issues which can impact the competitiveness of the domestic petroleum industry.


Journal Articles: 19 Displayed | Download in RIS Format

Other center views: All 23 publications 19 publications in selected types All 19 journal articles
Type Citation Sub Project Document Sources
Journal Article Biggerstaff JP, Le Puil M, Weidow BL, Leblanc-Gridley J, Jennings E, Busch-Harris J, Sublette KL, White DC, Alberte RS. A novel and in situ technique for the quantitative detection of MTBE and benzene degrading bacteria in contaminated matrices. Journal of Microbiological Methods 2007;68(2):437-441. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
    Exit
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Journal Article Busch-Harris J, Sublette K, Roberts KP, Landrum C, Peacock AD, Davis G, Ogles D, Holmes WE, Harris D, Ota C, Yang X, Kolhatkar A. Bio-traps coupled with molecular biological methods and stable isotope probing demonstrate the in situ biodegradation potential of MTBE and TBA in gasoline-contaminated aquifers. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation 2008;28(4):47-62. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract: Wiley-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Callaghan AV, Gieg LM, Kropp KG, Suflita JM, Young LY. Comparison of mechanisms of alkane metabolism under sulfate-reducing conditions among two bacterial isolates and a bacterial consortium. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2006;72(6):4274-4282. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: AEM-Full Text HTML
    Exit
  • Abstract: AEM-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: AEM-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Journal Article Chang Y-J, Long PE, Geyer R, Peacock AD, Resch CT, Sublette KL, Pfiffner S, Smithgail A, Anderson RT, Vrionis HA, Stephen JR, Dayvault R, Ortiz-Bernad I, Lovley DR, White DC. Microbial incorporation of 13C-labeled acetate at the field scale: detection of microbes responsible for reduction of U(VI). Environmental Science & Technology 2005;39(23):9039-9048. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: ES&T-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Davis G, Baldwin BR, Peacock AD, Ogles D, White GM, Boyle SL, Raes E, Koenigsberg SS, Sublette KL. Integrated approach to PCE-impacted site characterization, site management, and enhanced bioremediation. Remediation Journal 2008;18(4):5-17. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract: Wiley-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Fisher JB, Sublette KL. Environmental releases from exploration and production operations in Oklahoma: type, volume, causes, and prevention. Environmental Geosciences 2005;12(2):89-99. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract: Environmental Geosciences-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Geyer R, Peacock AD, Miltner A, Richnow HH, White DC, Sublette KL, Kastner M. In situ assessment of biodegradation potential using biotraps amended with 13C-labeled benzene or toluene. Environmental Science & Technology 2005;39(13):4983-4989. X832428 (Final)
    R830633 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: ES&T-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Ghosh D, Roy K, Williamson KE, White DC, Wommack KE, Sublette KL, Radosevich M. Prevalence of lysogeny among soil bacteria and presence of 16S rRNA and trzN genes in viral-community DNA. Applied & Environmental Microbiology 2008;74(2):495-502. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: AEM-Full Text HTML
    Exit
  • Abstract: AEM-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: AEM-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Journal Article Ghosh D, Krishnakali R, Srinivasan V, Mueller T, Tuovinen OH, Sublette K, Peacock A, Radosevich M. In-situ enrichment and analysis of atrazine-degrading microbial communities using atrazine-containing porous beads. Soil Biology & Biochemistry 2008;41(6):1331-1334. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
    Exit
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Journal Article Gieg LM, Duncan KE, Suflita JM. Bioenergy production via microbial conversion of residual oil to natural gas. Applied and Environmental Microbiology 2008;74(10):3022-3029. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text from PubMed
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Associated PubMed link
  • Full-text: AEM-Full Text HTML
    Exit
  • Abstract: AEM-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: AEM-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Journal Article Harris TM, Tapp JB, Sublette KL. Remediation of oil-field brine-impacted soil using a subsurface drainage system and hay. Environmental Geosciences 2005;12(2):101-113. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract: Environmental Geosciences-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: DOE-Prepublication Copy PDF
  • Journal Article Jager HI, Efroymson RA, Sublette KL, Ashwood TA. Unnatural landscapes in ecology: generating the spatial distribution of brine spills. Environmetrics 2005;16(7):687-698. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text: ORNL-Full Text PDF
  • Abstract: Wiley-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Sublette KL, Moralwar A, Ford L, Duncan K, Thoma G, Brokaw J. Remediation of a spill of crude oil and brine without gypsum. Environmental Geosciences 2005;12(2):115-125. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract: Environmental Geosciences-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: DOE-Prepublication Copy PDF
  • Journal Article Sublette KL, Tapp JB, Fisher JB, Jennings E, Duncan K, Thoma G, Brokaw J, Todd T. Lessons learned in remediation and restoration in the Oklahoma prairie: a review. Applied Geochemistry 2007;22(10):2225-2239. X832428 (Final)
    R830633 (Final)
  • Full-text: ScienceDirect-Full Text HTML
    Exit
  • Abstract: ScienceDirect-Abstract
    Exit
  • Other: ScienceDirect-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Journal Article Sublette K, Peacock A, White D, Davis G, Ogles D, Cook D, Kolhatkar R, Beckmann D, Yang X. Monitoring subsurface microbial ecology in a sulfate-amended, gasoline-contaminated aquifer. Groundwater Monitoring & Remediation 2006;26(2):70-78. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text: National Ground Water Association-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Abstract: Wiley-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Sublette K, Jennings E, Mehta C, Duncan K, Brokaw J, Todd T, Thoma G. Monitoring soil ecosystem recovery following bioremediation of a terrestrial crude oil spill with and without a fertilizer amendment. Soil and Sediment Contamination 2007;16(2):181-208. X832428 (Final)
    R830633 (Final)
  • Abstract: Taylor&Francis-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Thompson OA, Wolf DC, Mattice JD, Thoma GJ. Influence of nitrogen addition and plant root parameters on phytoremediation of pyrene-contaminated soil. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 2008;189(1-4):37-47. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article White Jr. PM, Wolf DC, Thoma GJ, Reynolds CM. Phytoremediation of alkylated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in a crude oil-contaminated soil. Water, Air, & Soil Pollution 2006;169(1-4):207-220. X832428 (Final)
  • Full-text: EnvironmentalExpert-Full Text PDF
    Exit
  • Abstract: Springer-Abstract
    Exit
  • Journal Article Zambrano L, Sublette K, Duncan K, Thoma G. Probabilistic reliability modeling for oil exploration & production (E&P) facilities in the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. Risk Analysis 2007;27(5):1323-1333. X832428 (Final)
  • Abstract from PubMed
  • Abstract: Wiley-Abstract
    Exit
  • Supplemental Keywords:

    oil, US EPA, regulations, brine spills, oil spills, remediation, MTBE, BTEX, biocorrosion, silt fences, technology transfer, nematodes, brine scar, groundwater, soil, DNAPL, NAPL, ecosystem, indicators, restoration, bioremediation, environmental chemistry, biology, engineering, ecology, petroleum

    Relevant Websites:

    http://ipec.utulsa.eduexit EPA

    Progress and Final Reports:

    Original Abstract
  • 2006
  • Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
    X832428C001 Effective Stormwater and Sediment Control During Pipeline Construction Using a New Filter Fence Concept
    X832428C002 Paraffin Control in Oil Wells Using Anaerobic Microorganisms
    X832428C003 Fiber Rolls as a Tool for Re-Vegetation of Oil-Brine Contaminated Watersheds