EPA Weighs Allowing Oil Companies to Pump Wastewater Into Rivers, Streams

This article discusses EPA considering allowing Oil Companies to Pump Wastewater Into Rivers, Streams.

For almost as long as there have been oil wells in Texas, drillers have pumped the vast quantities of brackish wastewater that surfaces with the oil into underground wells thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface.

But with concern growing that the underlying geology in the Permian Basin and other shale plays are reaching capacity for disposal wells, the Trump administration is examining whether to adjust decades-old federal clean water regulations to allow drillers to discharge wastewater directly into rivers and streams from which communities draw their water supplies.

Technically speaking, drillers are allowed to do this in limited circumstances under federal law, but the process of cleaning salt-, heavy metal- and chemical-laden wastewater to the point it would meet state or federal water standards is so costly that it’s rarely done, experts say.

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