EPA to Develop Natural Gas Wastewater Standards

On October 20th, EPA announced its plans to develop a comprehensive set of national standards for wastewater discharges produced by natural gas extraction from underground coalbed and shale formations.  This announcement is part of the effluent guidelines program, which is required to publish a biennial outline of all industrial wastewater discharge rulemakings underway.  No national standards currently exist for the disposal of wastewater from natural gas extraction activities.

EPA will be looking at the potential for cost-effective steps for pretreatment of this wastewater based on practices and technologies that are already available and being deployed or tested by industry to reduce pollutants in these discharges.  EPA’s plan includes gathering data, consulting with stakeholders from industry and public health groups, and soliciting public comment on a proposed rule for coalbed methane in 2013 and a proposed rule for shale gas in 2014.  The schedule for coalbed methane is shorter because EPA has already gathered extensive data and information in this area.

For more information, visit EPA’s web site at: http://water.epa.gov/lawsregs/lawsguidance/cwa/304m/.