Regulation of Produced Water by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Among its many responsibilities, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is charged with implementing the Clean Water Act established by Congress in 1972. The major objective of the Clean Water Act is to eliminate or control the discharge of pollutants, particularly toxic pollutants, into the Nation’s waterways. One of the ways EPA is meeting this objective is to develop national technology-based effluent limitations guidelines for the oil and gas exploration and production industry. The development of these effluent guidelines required first an analysis of the performance capability of wastestream pollution control technology, followed by a determination of costs and economic achievability of the implementation of such technology. The final effluent limitations developed are a result of EPA’s determination of the best available technology that is economically achievable for the industry. This paper will describe the effluent limitations regulations specifically for produced water generated by the oil and gas industry in the United States, and will include a description of the technologies that serve as a basis for the regulation, the actual effluent limitations requirements, and the costs of compliance.
KeywordsProduce Water Injection Well Cook Inlet National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Effluent Limitation
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