Oil and Gas Extraction Effluent Guidelines

The policy/regulatory system I chose has to deal with the toxic water discharge from field exploration, drilling, production, well treatment and well completion activities. In order for anyone to legally discharge possibly “dirty water” into Americas water, they would need to attain a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit. NPDES permit will specify an acceptable level of a pollutant or pollutant parameter in a discharge. The purpose of this permit is to monitor the amount of excess chemicals in water runoff from producers across the nation. It is in place due to the Clean Water Act amended into law in 1972, this act was created directly because of the concern about the amount of pollutants being introduced into water of the United States. Urban and national politics intersect greatly in the case of water pollution. If there were to be large amounts of harmful chemicals discharged into an ocean or water source that would be introduced to someone overseas there would be rampant sickness which would then be blamed on those who did not control the water pollutants properly. Urban politics are especially concerning with water pollution, often towns have multiple ponds that are in danger of being polluted by acid rain from neighboring cities and the ground water becoming toxic. The history of regulation and implementation has changed over time and amended in 1993, 1996, 2001 and 2016. All of the amendments have had to do with the types of pollutants that would be outlawed and the types of pollutants that would be allowed to be discharged but only in the smallest amounts. Also in the amendment process there were regulations specified for offshore facilities that would be disposing of water and which drilling fluids would be allowed in the water discharge. All in all, the Oil and Gas Extraction Effluent Guidelines have kept the producers of the United States water pollution to a low level in many cases, but there is still room to work until there is no pollution and minimal risk of disaster in our environment.

 

Sources:

Oil and Gas Extraction Effluent Guidelines Page:

https://www.epa.gov/eg/oil-and-gas-extraction-effluent-guidelines#history

NPDES Permit Basics:

https://www.epa.gov/npdes/npdes-permit-basics

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