EPA Finalizes New Clean Water Act Rule for Fracking Wastewaters

Posted on 6/28/2016 by Roger Marks

In the June 28 Federal Register, US EPA posted a Final Rule to implement pretreatment standards for wastewaters sent from onshore unconventional oil and gas (UOG) extracting facilities to a publicly owned treatment works (POTW).

Put simply, onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction, also known as “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking” to the general public, involves injecting water and brines into the earth at high pressure to extract the oil trapped underground. Direct wastewater discharges from UOG activities are already covered under the EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The new rule applies to “indirect” discharges, those treated at a POTW before being returned to US waterways.
Waterwater storage tanks at oil and gas extraction site

Under the new Clean Water Act rule, wastewaters from hydraulic fracturing operations must be treated before being sent to a POTW. This is due to the unconventional constituents sometimes found in the wastewaters, which are atypical for POTWs set up to handle municipal, not industrial, wastewaters. Some of the constituents found in UOG wastewaters include:
  • Total dissolved solids (TDS),
  • Organic and inorganic chemicals,
  • Metals, and
  • Naturally occurring radioactive materials.
The new Clean Water Act Final Rule is effective August 29, 2016.

Want to see the data that led US EPA to this decision? Check out this technical document at

EPA Air, Water & Chemical Regulations Training for Managers and Personnel

Get a clear picture of ALL the US EPA requirements that apply to your activities, from releases to the air and water to managing chemicals on site under TSCA and much more. The Complete Environmental Regulations Workshop is designed to help you identify the rules that affect your job and make the big decisions that keep your site in compliance.

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been in the EHS field for years, there’s always something new to learn at this engaging, expert-led workshop. 

Tags: Act, Clean, new rules:, EPA,, Water

Find a Post

Compliance Archives

Lion - Quotes

Very well structured, comprehensive, and comparable to live training seminars I've participated in previously. I will recommend the online course to other colleagues with training requirement needs.

Neil Luciano

EHS Manager

These are the best commercial course references I have seen (10+ years). Great job!

Ed Grzybowski

EHS & Facility Engineer

As always, Lion never disappoints

Paul Resley

Environmental Coordinator

The online course was well thought out and organized, with good interaction between the student and the course.

Larry Ybarra

Material Release Agent

This was the 1st instructor that has made the topic actually enjoyable and easy to follow and understand. Far better than the "other" training providers our company has attended!

Lori Hardy

Process & Resource Administrator

This course went above my expectations from the moment I walked in the door. The instructor led us through two days packed with useful compliance information.

Rachel Stewart

Environmental Manager

Well designed and thorough program. Excellent summary of requirements with references. Inclusion of regulations in hard copy form, as well as full electronic with state pertinent regulations included is a great bonus!

Oscar Fisher

EHS Manager

The instructor was excellent. They knew all of the material without having to read from a notepad or computer.

Gary Hartzell

Warehouse Supervisor

The instructor was probably the best I ever had! He made the class enjoyable, was humorous at times, and very knowledgeable.

Mary Sue Michon

Environmental Administrator

Very good. I have always appreciated the way Lion Tech develops, presents and provides training and materials.

John Troy

Environmental Specialist

Download Our Latest Whitepaper

In most cases, injuries that occur at work are work-related and must be recorded to maintain compliance with OSHA regulations. This report shows you the 9 types of injuries you don’t record.

Latest Whitepaper

By submitting your phone number, you agree to receive recurring marketing and training text messages. Consent to receive text messages is not required for any purchases. Text STOP at any time to cancel. Message and data rates may apply. View our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.