The Utah Geological Survey is getting $800,000 in grant funds from the Department of Energy and National Energy Technology Laboratory to research water issues as they relate to conventional oil and gas recovery, along with potential oil shale development in Utah.

The UGS announced Wednesday that the study will be done by the University of Utah, Colorado School of Mines and several industry partners operating in the Uinta Basin. One of the goals is to look at resolving environmental barriers to possible shale development.

The research will look at issues such as water disposal and the impact of oil shale extraction on aquifers.

One of the big unanswered questions for critics of tapping into an estimated 800 billion recoverable barrels of oil from the tri-state Green River formation, which includes Utah, is how much water will be required for production and the footprint that large-scale shale production will have on water quality.