(July 10, 2019) - NACWA submitted comments to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last week on EPA’s Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management, which considered the current management practices for wastewater generated by both conventional and unconventional (“fracking”) oil and gas extraction from onshore facilities. The Agency is looking at the current regulations of this wastewater and the potential for changing the regulations to allow for expanded reuse of the water.
Oil-and-gas-extraction-wastewater is usually disposed of with deep well injection, and wastewater from unconventional extraction facilities may not be discharged to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). Since water scarcity is increasingly a concern in many parts of the country, NACWA supports additional research and regulatory changes to allow additional management options for this wastewater, including safe reuse and recycling. NACWA also supports allowing unconventional oil and gas extractions discharge to POTWs if the facilities are specially designed to treat this type of waste.
NACWA members with questions about this issue can contact Cynthia Finley, NACWA’s Director of Regulatory Affairs.