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EPA seeks input on draft study of oil, gas extraction wastewater management

Comments accepted until July 1

Posted May 17, 2019

EPA is seeking public input on a draft study that looks at how the Agency, states, tribes, and others view the current state of regulation and management of wastewater from the oil and gas industry and provides insight into how this wastewater might be returned to beneficial use in the water cycle.

EPA says large volumes of wastewater are generated from both conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction at onshore facilities and projections show that these volumes will likely increase significantly with expanded production activity and enhanced drilling and hydraulic fracturing techniques. Currently, most of this wastewater is managed by disposing of it using a practice known as deep underground injection, where that water can no longer be accessed or used.

In May 2018, EPA announced the initiation of a Study of Oil and Gas Extraction Wastewater Management, and gathered input from state, tribal, industrial, academic, environmental, public health, and other entities for the study. The draft study was developed using this feedback and comments submitted to the public docket.

EPA says the study does not announce or discuss any regulatory efforts regarding oil and gas extraction wastewater. Comments will be accepted until July 1, 2019, and can be emailed to EPA anticipates finalizing the study and announcing any next steps later in 2019.

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