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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Clearing Up a Muddy Issue

Clearing Up a Muddy Issue

At this point, it is about as clear as mud.

With the recent boom in oil and gas exploration, there also is an increase in waste produced from the drilling process. Many agricultural producers have opportunities to provide their property as disposal sites for drilling mud applications and receive payment in return, said Chad Penn, associate professor of plant and soil sciences at OSU.

“Most producers will have the material applied to pasture or rangeland that has a relatively low production capability,” he said. “The land application of drilling mud may or may not inhibit future production.”

Scientists have done little research about potential impacts of drilling mud application on land quality. However, OSU is in the early stages of conducting research.

Penn said the long-term goal may require several years and increased research funding. The intent is to produce a site-specific tool for landowners to assess risk, potential yield reduction, time required for salt leaching, or alternatively estimate the maximum waterbased mud application in which little to no yield reduction will occur.

– SH

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