Hydraulic fracturing, commonly referred to as fracking, is a method of extracting natural gas from shale formations. Fracking has been around for many years, but recently, combining it with horizontal drilling has made it economically practical for gas extraction. While natural gas presents the U.S. with options to become more energy independent, there also are concerns about the process’s impact on the environment.
Fracking’s potential effects on drinking water supplies
Hydraulic fracturing (fracking) brings two of our most precious natural resources at odds. The natural gas harvested through the process is essential to meeting our country’s growing energy needs (and is a source of clean energy at that). However, poorly constructed wells or improper disposal of wastewater from fracking operations can potentially affect drinking water quality. There have been reports of methane migrating from drilling operations into drinking water sources — contamination that not only could render water undrinkable, but also cause a potential explosion hazard.
Success of federal Superfund law highlighted
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney visited three Superfund sites in Orange and Dutchess counties in New York state to review and assess progress on the cleanup of contamination at these hazardous waste sites.
Shenandoah Road Groundwater Contamination — East Fishkill, N.Y.
Timmonsville has failed to fully comply with federal and state orders to correct deficiencies since 2012
The U.S. Department of Justice, acting on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), acting on behalf of the state of South Carolina, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina against the town of Timmonsville, S.C., for wastewater and drinking water violations.
Comments will be accepted through June 21, 2013
Under the Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act, after Jan. 4, 2014, it will be illegal to sell or install pipes, fittings and fixtures in applications that convey water for human consumption that have a weighted average lead content of more than 0.25%.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provides a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) on its website, intended to help businesses and agencies comply with the law. The current FAQs can be found here.
Closures will protect drinking water sources on Yakama Reservation
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Region 10, has ordered two gas stations to close their underground injection wells to protect drinking water on the Yakama Indian Reservation in Washington state. In separate settlements, the gas stations in Wapato and White Swan will pay $13,140 and $11,991 in federal penalties for violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act.
AWWA proclaims “huge step forward” for water infrastructure
The U.S. Senate passed legislation that would create a Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Authority (WIFIA), a key development in addressing America’s trillion-dollar water infrastructure challenge.
A WIFIA pilot program is included in the Water Resources Development Act of 2013 (S. 601), which passed by a vote of 83 to 14. It now moves on to the U.S. House of Representatives for consideration.
Common process will strengthen drinking water standards for unregulated chemicals
To further protect public health, reduce duplicative costs, increase efficiency and promote transparency of human health risk assessment action levels, CSA Group, NSF Intl., IAPMO R&T, UL and the Water Quality Assn. (WQA) will now use harmonized procedures to develop action levels for unregulated chemical contaminants originating from products in contact with drinking water. The harmonized process will be used by all five certification organizations immediately.
California state legislators address the state's drinking water
A number of California state legislators included the bill for third-party certification as part of a package designed to provide clean drinking water.
Nine bills were highlighted by the lawmakers, all of them part of a program to address the state's drinking water crisis.
West Virginia Department of Transportation to pay $30,000 for alleged storage tank regulation violations
The West Virginia Department of Transportation (W.Va. DOT) has agreed to pay a $30,000 penalty to settle alleged violations of underground storage tank (UST) regulations at 10 facilities operated by its Division of Highways, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced. As part of the settlement, W.Va. DOT has also agreed to statewide improvements of its UST monitoring procedures.