EPA Proposes To Delist CBM ELG
US EPA has been, for the past six years, evaluating the need to develop specific effluent limit guidelines (ELGs) for CBM related water discharges. This effort was driven by the EPA’s concerns over the high levels of total dissolved solids in CBM related wastewater streams. After considerable data collection and review, the EPA proposed in August, 2013 to “delist” this ELG effort. What this means is that EPA is proposing to stop working on this particular issue.
The EPA notes in its related Technical Development Document that:
“…recent findings show that the natural gas industry has changed since EPA conducted a detailed study and selected this category for rulemaking.”
Said another way, current prices for natural gas have significantly diminished the economic incentives for CBM development, so the EPA believes a separate ELG effort is not longer warranted. CBM operators can and will be able to continue to operate under whatever limits have been set in their state issued permits – generally a Best Professional Judgment standard relative to treating for total dissolved solids.