State oil and gas regulations designed to protect water resources, 2014 Edition says that states have “substantially improved” groundwater protection laws and regulations governing oil and gas production. But the report also identifies “emerging issues that merit more detailed consideration in future state regulatory evaluations”, including:
- Analyzing the potential migration of injected fluids from the stimulated zone to water supplies, using an area of review concept (a concept embraced by the Center for Sustainable Shale Development, but not by Pennsylvania).
- Mandatory suspension of fracking operations when problems are encountered
- Taking a lifecycle approach to well integrity through monitoring
- Sampling and analysis of water resources potentially at risk from oil and gas development
- Treatment and waste stream management related to the use of brackish groundwater
- Reuse of produced water
- Proper disposal, handling and exposure limits related to NORM
Finally, in updating their rules, GWPC said that states should focus on:
- Well integrity
- Surface fluid management
- Cleanup standards for spills
- The need for data integration (PA's systems are in shambles)
Valuable reports like GWPC's need to be considered – and their limitations understood.