Scientists at the University of Wyoming studying soil disturbance due to natural gas installations in the state have found that excavating drilling pads often stirs more sodium into topsoil, according to a release. Researchers say the practice tends to make poor soil conditions around gas sites worse.
Disturbing the soil in such a way also changes the organization of topsoils and denser soils below. But there are some steps that those in the natural gas industry can take to mitigate the effects of ripping out drilling pads.
By first separating topsoils and clay-rich soils during construction, it’s possible to reduce the amount of sodium that later makes it into the root zone of plants nearby. Treating soils with minerals can help improve plant growth after removing drilling pads. New topsoils, scientists say, should also be spread in rougher patterns to allow for pools of water to form that will support plant growth.