For as long as she can remember, Sabrina Forbis says she has aspired to become part of the oil and gas industry. It wasn’t until last summer, though, that Forbis realized her true interest may lie in a portion of the business that focuses on water research.
Forbis, who received her bachelor’s degree in energy resource science from the University of Wyoming in December 2011, recently completed her third internship with Encana Corporation. her work focused on collecting water samples as part of a chemical optimization project at Frenchie Draw in Fremont County.
“I never considered working in water quality before this summer,” says the Riverton native. “It was a new-found interest that I really enjoyed being a part of.”
For three months, Forbis drew water samples from various water line locations and holding ponds. During turbidity tests, she measured the number of suspended particles in the water by filling glass vials with water and analyzing them through a hand-held meter. While most turbidity levels met a safe threshold level, Forbis says water clarifiers, which were used throughout the system, had to sometimes be modified to lower turbidity levels.
She also tested oil and grease levels by collecting water samples in one-liter glass bottles to ensure that the water was safe for livestock and aquatic habitats.
“When you, or the company you work for, deal with produced water, you have to make sure you are being a good environmental steward,” she says. Forbis is currently pursuing her second bachelor’s degree, in petroleum engineering, at UW.
Learn more about the research efforts of the Wyoming Center for Environmental Hydrology and Geophysics.