ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) - Federal environmental regulators say they will develop national standards for the disposal of polluted wastewaters generated by hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.
Also known as fracking, the technique uses millions of gallons of water, along with sand and chemical additives, to unlock gas in deep shale formations in Pennsylvania, Texas and other states including Wyoming. Its use has increased dramatically in recent years, raising concerns about the potential impact on water quality.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday that it will draft standards for fracking wastewater that drillers would have to meet before sending it to treatment plants.
The industry already recycles much of the wastewater or injects it deep underground, but some of it is sent to treatment plants that are often ill-equipped to handle it.
Pennsylvania Rep. Tim Murphy says, the EPA's announcement is "a solution in search of a problem."
Wyoming is among the states that have seen an increase in use of the technique.