Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is the process of forcefully injecting liquid into subterranean rocks in an attempt to open fissures and extract oil or gas.
Fracking has placed the United States back on the map in terms of petroleum and natural gas production, rocketing them to the number one distributor from 2012 on. With a new way of extracting natural gas comes a new set of regulations from the government.
Government Regulations on Hydraulic Fracturing
The regulations mostly revolve around protecting the environment around the open drilling sites. When scientific studies The United States government has, through scientific studies, concluded that fracking can cause certain unsavory effects to the environment around open drilling sites.
Regulation 1: Diesel fuel fracking
One of the first regulations imposed on fracking comes from the Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program. This program sets requirements for how a drill site must operate to minimize risks of fracking to contaminate underground drinking water.
Hydraulic fracturing using diesel fuels is permitted but has certain specifications to ensure that it is being done as cleanly as possible. A list of all of the federal regulations on fracking using diesel fuels can be found on the EPA’s website.
Regulation 2: Wastewater and stormwater
The process of fracking uses a large amount of water. After the water has been used, it must be properly disposed of. According to the EPA, water used in the process of hydraulic fracturing and stormwater that runs off from the drill site can contain organic and inorganic chemicals, metals and naturally occurring radioactive materials.
If this water is allowed back into the natural environment, it may cause problems. That is why the second restriction on hydraulic fracturing ensures the safe management of wastewater, stormwater and other liquid wastes from the fracking process.
Wastewater and runoff must be either run through a wastewater treatment facility or taken to a municipal sewage treatment plant before used again. Wastewater and stormwater can be held in certain manmade pits and ponds for a short amount of time before being taken to one of these facilities.
Full information on the EPA’s regulations concerning fracking wastewater and stormwater can be viewed here.
Regulation 3: Managing air quality
The EPA placed regulations on hydraulic fracturing companies after studies found there were increased emissions of methane, volatile organic compounds and hazards air pollutants at and around drill sites. While there may not be restrictions on the drilling sites themselves, the EPA has worked to develop technologies and practices that help reduce methane emissions.
Information about their research process can be found here.
If your company works with the government and needs capital to meet new standards set by regulations, give government factoring a try. Factoring allows your company to pay for business expenses without worrying about disrupting your cash flow.
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