USGS - science for a changing world

SIR 2007-5192

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5192

Effects of Saline-Wastewater Injection on Water Quality in the Altamont-Bluebell Oil and Gas Field, Duchesne County, Utah, 1990-2005

Prepared in cooperation with the

By Judy I. Steiger


The Altamont-Bluebell oil and gas field in the Uinta Basin in northeastern Utah has been an important oil and natural gas production area since the 1950s. Saline water is produced along with oil during the oil-well drilling and pumping process. The saline wastewater is disposed of by injection into wells completed in the Duchesne River Formation, Uinta Formation, and other underlying formations. There are concerns that the injected saline wastewater could migrate into the upper part of the Duchesne River and Uinta Formations and surficial deposits that are used for drinking-water supply and degrade the quality of the drinking water. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining, began a program in 1990 to monitor water quality in five wells in the Altamont-Bluebell oil and gas field. By 1996, water-quality samples had been collected from 20 wells. Ten of the 20 wells were sampled yearly during 1996-2005 and analyzed for bromide, chloride, and stable isotopes. Comparison of major chemical constituents, bromide-to-chloride ratios, trend analysis, and isotope ratios were used to assess if saline wastewater is migrating into parts of the formation that are developed for drinking-water supplies. Results of four different analyses all indicate that saline wastewater injected into the lower part of the Duchesne River and Uinta Formations and underlying formations is not migrating upward into the upper parts of the formations that are used for drinking-water supplies.




Oil and Gas Production in the Altamont-Bluebell Field

Purpose and Scope

Water Quality

Relative Concentrations of Major Chemical Constituents

Bromide and Chloride

Trends in Chemical Constituents

Stable Isotopes


References Cited

This report is available online in Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat PDF Reader, it is available for free download from Adobe Systems Incorporated.

Download the report (PDF, 2.2 MB)

Document Accessibility: Adobe Systems Incorporated has information about PDFs and the visually impaired. This information provides tools to help make PDF files accessible. These tools convert Adobe PDF documents into HTML or ASCII text, which then can be read by a number of common screen-reading programs that synthesize text as audible speech. In addition, an accessible version of Acrobat Reader 8.0 for Windows (English only), which contains support for screen readers, is available. These tools and the accessible reader may be obtained free from Adobe at Adobe Access.

Send questions or comments about this report to the author, Judy I. Steiger, (801) 908-5059.

For more information about USGS activities in Utah, visit the USGS Utah Water Science Center home page.

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Persistent URL:
Page Contact Information: Publications Team
Page Last Modified: Thursday, 01-Dec-2016 19:53:01 EST