Last month, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) extended the time period for public comments concerning its proposed rule on hydraulic fracturing wastewater. The end of the comment period is quickly approaching. The public has until July 17th to submit comments on the proposed rule. The proposed rule, Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category, would strengthen the requirements on oil and gas operators.

Under the proposed rule, oil and gas operators would be required to treat wastewater before it reaches public wastewater facilities. According to the EPA, fracking wastewater should be treated before entering the public water system to ensure that untreated wastewater does not enter public water facilities. The proposed rule would apply to wastewater generated from oil and gas production, exploration, drilling, treatment of wells, and well completion.

Although the proposed rule would constitute a heightened standard, the rule mirrors practices already followed by the majority of the oil and gas industry. In fact, the EPA has stated that the proposed rule should not result in additional costs to the industry. Moreover, the EPA also acknowledged that fracking operators are not currently extracting fracking wastewater and discharging it into public facilities. Nonetheless, the EPA contends that the rule should still be enacted because of discharges in the past.

Read the extension.