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USEPA Establishes Effluent Guidelines for Hydraulic Fracturing

epaThe U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has finalized a rule that establishes pretreatment standards for discharges of wastewater pollutants from onshore unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extraction facilities to publicly owned wastewater treatment systems. USEPA says the rule protects human health and the environment by preventing the discharge of pollutants into wastewater. The goal of the rule is to fill a gap in existing Federal wastewater regulations to ensure that the UOG industry continues to refrain from sending extraction wastewater discharges directly into public wastewater facilities in the future.

UOG extraction wastewater constituents can potentially have several undesirable effects on public wastewater facilities if not pretreated properly, including:

  • Possibility of being discharged, untreated into the receiving stream.
  • Disrupt operations by inhibiting biological treatment.
  • Accumulate in biosolids (sewage sludge) which limits their use.
  • Facilitate the formation of harmful disinfection by-products (DBPs).

USEPA says the Pretreatment Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category should not impose any costs on wastewater utilities. A fact sheet about the rule can be viewed by clicking here. Additional information can be found on the USEPA's website.




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