Gillette, Wyo. – A University of Wyoming researcher has developed a test to trace co-produced coal-bed methane water even after it flows into rivers and mixes with other water sources. Until now, methods have been insufficient to distinguish coal-bed methane co-produced water from subsurface or shallow ground water in the Powder River basin.
Co-produced methane water can vary from high quality water that meets drinking water standards to low quality water with high levels of salts and sodium.
The Wyoming research already has indicated that coal-bed methane water released in the Powder River is having little to no effect on water in Montana.
Wyoming's coal-bed methane development is upstream of Montana, and Montana is sensitive to changes in water quality in the Powder and Tongue rivers. The research project continues for another year.