A team of French and American researchers have created chemical tracers that can pinpoint fracking liquid in the environment, according to a release from Duke University.
The tracers pick up traces of lithium and enriched boron in the fracking wastewater. Boron and lithium are released when fracking liquid is injected into shale beds. The trackers are based on naturally occurring elements in shale beds and are designed to remain stable once released.
The researchers say the tracers will lead to better methods to dispose of and treat fracking wastewater.
Image: Monitoring for fracking liquid at a shale gas drilling site in West Virginia. (Credit: Avner Vengosh)