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EPA Proposes Prohibition on Discharge of Unconventional Wastewater to POTWs

Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a proposed rule under the Clean Water Act that would prohibit the discharge of unconventional oil and gas extraction wastewaters to publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).  The rule would apply to wastewater associated with production, field exploration, drilling, well completion and well treatment for unconventional operations, but would not apply to wastewater produced by conventional operations.  According to EPA, the industry does not currently discharge unconventional wastewater to POTWs and this rule “will ensure that such current industry best practice is maintained over time.”  The rule would be immediately effective on the date of publication of the final rule.  Comments on the proposed rule must be received on or before June 8, 2015.