The US Environmental Protection Agency is studying oil and gas wastewater management requirements and policies with the intention of producing a white paper early in 2019 that will help it determine if new federal regulations are necessary, officials said Oct. 9. They also acknowledged that it will be difficult.
“Dealing with wastewater from oil and gas extraction and turning it into useable water is not an easy matter, but it’s a critical issue we need to work through,” Deputy Assistant Administrator for Water Lee D. Forsgren observed at a public meeting at EPA’s headquarters.
EPA’s exploration and production effluent guidelines apply onshore at the wellhead and at centralized wastewater treatment sites, noted Jesse Pritts, an engineer in EPA’s water office and the study’s leader. Control measures include establishing and enforcing limits, using best management practices, and determining effective wastewater management techniques, he said.