Dispersion of Gravel Road Fine-Fractions as Influenced by Oil-Well Produced Water and Simulated Solutions of Various SAR, EC, and Ca/Mg Ratios

  • Kayla Graber
  • Christina L. M. Hargiss
  • Thomas DeSutter
  • Yangbo HeEmail author
  • Jack E. Norland


In the northern Great Plains, a potential road dust abatement is the application of oil-well produced water, also known as “brine.” However, little is known about the effectiveness of brine or its potential impacts on dispersion of road materials and the creation of dusts. This study aimed to investigate how sodium adsorption ratios (SAR), electrical conductivity (EC), and Ca/Mg ratios of simulated and non-simulated brine influenced dispersive reactions of three mineralogically different gravel road fine fractions. Ca/Mg ratios had little to no significant influence on the outcome of dispersion. Irrespective of the SAR or clay mineralogy, a threshold EC of 4 dS m−1 was sufficient to control road fine fraction dispersion. Actual oil-well produced water effect on dispersion followed the same order as that treated by simulated solution and the dispersion value can be well-predicted from EC. This information is useful to managers, regulators, scientists, and industry professionals considering the use of brine as a road dust control abatement.


Dispersion Oil-produced water Brine Road dust 



We would like to thank Kevin Horsager, Alexis Steinman, Amy Gnoinsky, Jordan Roob, and Jeremy Hackley for their extensive help in the lab.

Funding Information

This project was funded by the North Dakota State University and USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture Hatch project number ND02396.

Supplementary material

11270_2019_4111_MOESM1_ESM.docx (22 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Natural Resource SciencesNorth Dakota State UniversityFargoUSA
  2. 2.College of Resources and EnvironmentHuazhong Agricultural UniversityWuhanChina

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