On June 27, 2016 U.S. EPA finalized a regulation under the Clean Water Act that prohibits the discharge of wastewater from certain oil and gas extraction facilities to POTWs. Specifically, the rule applies to onshore extraction from shale and/or tight geologic formations – referred to as unconventional oil and gas resources. EPA determined that current industry practice, including wastewater disposal in UIC wells, wastewater reuse/recycling, and management in centralized waste treatment facilities, provided a technology basis for promulgating a zero discharge standard for unconventional oil/gas extraction facilities.

The final rule, which becomes effective on August 29, 2016, does not apply to conventional oil and gas extraction facilities or coalbed methane facilities.