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Arsenic release to the environment from hydrocarbon production, storage, transportation, use and waste management

December 31, 2020

Arsenic (As) is a toxic trace element with many sources, including hydrocarbons such as oil, natural gas, oil sands, and oil- and gas-bearing shales. Arsenic from these hydrocarbon sources can be released to the environment through human activities of hydrocarbon production, storage, transportation and use. In addition, accidental release of hydrocarbons to aquifers with naturally occurring (geogenic) As can induce mobilization of As to groundwater through biogeochemical reactions triggered by hydrocarbon biodegradation. In this paper, we review the occurrence of As in different hydrocarbons and the release of As from these sources into the environment. We also examine the occurrence of As in wastes from hydrocarbon production, including produced water and sludge. Last, we discuss the potential for As release related to waste management, including accidental or intentional releases, and recycling and reuse of these wastes.