DATE: June 11, 2019
SNIP: The EPA recently released the draft of a study of options to dispose of “produced water” from drilling for gas and oil that could include irrigation and discharging it into rivers and streams.
The water, sometimes 10 times saltier than seawater and laced with chemicals such as ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in antifreeze, traditionally has been injected underground, but that practice has been linked to hundreds of earthquakes in Oklahoma and other oil-producing states in the last decade.
Fracking can produce as much as 10 gallons of water for every gallon of oil. The amount of wastewater new wells produce during their first year has increased by up to 1,440%.
In 2016, the EPA banned public sewage plants from accepting wastewater from fracking, but the EPA later extended the deadline for complying until August. The water was so corrosive it was damaging factory machinery downstream. People living near the Monongahela River in western Pennsylvania were advised to drink bottled water.
The EPA identified 692 different ingredients used in fracking that can end up in produced water, including acids, gels and sand. The water can also be radioactive. Little research has been done about treating waste from drilling for oil and gas, and there are no federal regulations about the radioactive waste produced by drilling for oil.