Drilling involving hydrofracturing (in the Marcellus shale and elsewhere) is now exempt from the Safe Drinking Water Act, but to my knowledge the Clean Water Act still applies.  As noted in the previous post, NY State anticipates the possibility of having to write SPDES discharge permits for fluids injected into the subsurface, but which later are removed.

Now, the  SPDES program falls under the Clean Water Act, and effluent data under this program cannot be maintained as confidential.  What constitutes effluent data is clear in the Code of Federal Regulations, as follows:

§ 2.302 Special rules governing certain information obtained under the Clean Water Act.
(a) Definitions. For the purposes of this section:
(1) Act means the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq.
(2)(i) Effluent data means, with reference to any source of discharge of any pollutant (as that term is defined in section 502(6) of the Act, 33 U.S.C. 1362 (6))—
(A) Information necessary to determine the identity, amount, frequency, concentration, temperature, or other characteristics (to the extent related to water quality) of any pollutant which has been discharged by the source (or of any pollutant resulting from any discharge from the source), or any combination of the foregoing;
(B) Information necessary to determine the identity, amount, frequency, concentration, temperature, or other characteristics (to the extent related to water quality) of the pollutants which, under an applicable standard or limitation, the source was authorized to discharge (including, to the extent necessary for such purpose, a description of the manner or rate of operation of the source); and
(C) A general description of the location and/or nature of the source to the extent necessary to identify the source and to distinguish it from other sources (including, to the extent necessary for such purposes, a description of the device, installation, or operation constituting the source).

There are no if’s and’s or but’s here.  This means to me that everything on each chemical must be revealed, going beyond what is available now.  To follow-up fully, we need to check the definition of a pollutant.  Stay tuned.


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