Characterizing Water Resources Around Oil and Gas Development: A Cautionary Tale

Document Type


Publication Date

Winter 1-30-2020


Montanans are concerned about the risks to groundwater from oil and gas development, especially using enhanced oil recovery techniques. Because some organic compounds occur naturally in groundwater, it is important to be able to distinguish between their natural presence and contamination from oil and gas activities. Dr. Meredith led a two-year sampling program in eastern Montana that characterized area groundwater with respect to known indicators of oilfield waste contamination. She will report the results and implications.

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Dr. Elizabeth Meredith is a research professor of hydrogeology at MBMG’s Billings Office. She has been working on groundwater issues around extractive energy development since she joined MBMG in 2007—first focusing on coal and coalbed methane and expanding to include oil and gas production. Liddi’s B.A. is in physics from Whitman College, and she has a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Wyoming.