Marcellus Minutes is a subscription-based newsletter sent to all subscribers registered through the Marcellus Minutes website that contains information on legislation including bill tracking, committee hearings and news from the Capitol in Harrisburg. Access to the website is free and provided to those directly involved and those with an interest in Pennsylvania’s oil and gas industry.

EPA Proposes Zero Discharge Rule for Hydraulic Fracturing Wastewater

On April 7, 2015, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)issued proposed regulations which would create pretreatment standards of performance for existing and new sources of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing operations. EPA is proposing to establish a “zero discharge” effluent limitation which would continue the current industry practice of not discharging wastewater from unconventional oil and gas operations (UOG) to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs). While the proposed rule should not surprise anyone, it is worth noting some of EPA’s comments and rationale for the rule as well as some disposal options.

In the “purpose and summary” portion of the preamble to the rule, EPA explained its desire to provide regularity clarity and discussed the characteristics of UOG wastewater that are problematic for POTWs:

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