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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract - Waste Management

Coal-Bed Methane Water: Effects on Soil Properties and Camelina Productivity


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 46 No. 3, p. 641-648
    unlockOPEN ACCESS
    Received: Oct 14, 2016
    Accepted: Mar 01, 2017
    Published: May 18, 2017

    * Corresponding author(s): valtcho.jeliazkov@oregonstate.edu
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  1. Henry Y. Sintimab,
  2. Valtcho D. Zheljazkov *ac,
  3. Michael E. Foleyd and
  4. Roque L. Evangelistae
  1. a Dep. of Plant Sciences, Univ. of Wyoming, 1000 E. University Ave., Laramie, WY 82071
    b Dep. of Crop and Soil Sciences, Washington State Univ., Puyallup Research and Extension Center, 2606 West Pioneer, Puyallup, WA 98371
    c Crop and Soil Science Dep., Oregon State Univ., Corvallis, OR 97331
    d USDA-ARS, Red River Valley Agricultural Research Center, 1605 Albrecht Blvd. N., Fargo, ND 58102
    e USDA-ARS, National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, 1815 N. University St., Peoria, IL 61604
Core Ideas:
  • Unsustainable disposal methods for coal-bed methane water (CBMW) is a major problem.
  • Irrigation with 100% CBMW reduced camelina yield and affected soil structure.
  • Irrigation with 1:1 tap water to CBMW had minimal effects on camelina and soil structure.
  • 1:1 tap water to CBMW could be used to irrigate camelina in the short term.
  • There was evidence of Na uptake, but it was at a low level (28 mg Na kg−1).


Every year, the production of coal-bed natural gas in the Powder River Basin results in the discharge of large amounts of coal-bed methane water (CBMW) in Wyoming; however, no sustainable disposal methods for CBMW are currently available. A greenhouse study was conducted to evaluate the potential to use CBMW as a source of irrigation water for camelina [Camelina sativa (L.) Crantz]. We assessed the effects of three CBMW concentrations (0% [1:0], 50% [1:1], and 100% [0:1] tap water to CBMW) on selected soil properties, growth, seed oil, and fatty acid composition of three camelina cultivars: Blaine Creek, Ligena, and Pronghorn. The 100% CBMW reduced seed and estimated biofuel yields by 24 and 23%, respectively, but increased the oil content by 3%, relative to the control. Additionally, the 100% CBMW visibly affected soil through formation of surface crust due to elevated levels of sodium (653 mg Na kg−1). The 50% CBMW had no significant effects on the seed yield, estimated biofuel yield, and oil content, but the soil Na levels were still high (464 mg kg−1), which could pose a long-term impact on soil structure. The CBMW tended to reduce the total saturated fatty acid, but it had no significant effects on the total monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids of camelina seeds. Overall, CBMW diluted with an equal amount of good-quality water could be used to irrigate camelina in the short term. Afterward, only good-quality water would have to be used until the accumulated dissolved solids are flushed out.

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