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Chemosphere. 2012 Nov;89(11):1437-42. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2012.06.014. Epub 2012 Jul 7.

Total arsenic and selenium analysis in Marcellus shale, high-salinity water, and hydrofracture flowback wastewater.

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C. Eugene Bennett Department of Chemistry, West Virginia University, PO Box 6045, Morgantown, WV 26506, USA.


Trace levels of arsenic and selenium can be toxic to living organisms yet their quantitation in high ionic strength or high salinity aqueous media is difficult due to the matrix interferences which can either suppress or enhance the analyte signal. A modified thiol cotton fiber (TCF) method employing lower flow rates and centrifugation has been used to remove the analyte from complex aqueous media and minimize the matrix interferences. This method has been tested using a USGS (SGR-1b) certified reference shale. It has been used to analyze Marcellus shale samples following microwave digestion as well as spiked samples of high salinity water (HSW) and flow back wastewater (WRF6) obtained from an actual gas well drilling operation. Quantitation of arsenic and selenium is carried out by graphite furnace atomic spectroscopy (GFAAS). Extraction of arsenic and selenium from Marcellus shale exposed to HSW and WRF6 for varying lengths of time is also reported.

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