Autodesk Water
Connecting Waterpeople
Autodesk Water Webinar Series - April 30th, 10h (UTC+1)

The United States is contemplating increasing waste water reuse

  • The United States is contemplating increasing waste water reuse

Last February 27th, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and other federal, state, and local water leaders announced the release of the National Water Reuse Action Plan (WRAP). It results from a collaborative effort of the water user community to advance consideration of water reuse in the U.S., in order to ensure water resources security, sustainability and resilience.

The Trump administration triggered this effort, a push that can get more use out of the waste water from industries, cities and farms, reports the Dayton Daily News. Since Trump supports oil and gas developers, and getting farmers more water, environmental groups are wary of the move, afraid that Trump’s government could use it to help companies get rid of waste water that could threaten public health.

According to an EPA statement, the plan ‘frames the business case that water reuse is a viable and growing means of supporting our economy and improving the availability of freshwater’. To do that, it outlines a series of efforts by different government levels that consider policies and rules, research and potential uses of reused water. Contemplated sources of waste water are farms, factories and cooling systems, waste water treatment plants, as well as the oil & gas sector. Potential applications of reclaimed water considered in the plan are crop irrigation, drinking water, and groundwater recharge.

Part of the plan is an ongoing EPA study on oil and gas extraction waste water management. To be completed in April 2020, it is meant to inform the EPA as it considers regulatory and nonregulatory approaches for the management of produced water ─ a by-product of oil and gas production ─ under the Clean Water Act. ‘Wastewater from the fracking process in certainly at the top of our minds’, said Wheeler.

But environmental groups are concerned about disposal practices for contaminated waste water: ‘The Trump administration is trying to prop up the oil and gas industry by greenlighting more ways to dump vast amounts of waste fluid that’s often toxic and even radioactive,’ said an attorney with the Centre for Biological Diversity.

Most oil and natural gas produced water is reinjected deep underground into producing oil and gas reservoirs to enhance production or into porous rocks for disposal. This way of disposal, however, has raised concerns about pollution of drinking water reserves, and has been linked to earthquakes. Currently, the reuse of produced water accounts for approximately less than 1 per cent of water produced. Some projects are under way in California where waste water from oilfields is being used for crop irrigation.

Subscribe to our newsletter

Topics of interest

The data provided will be treated by iAgua Conocimiento, SL for the purpose of sending emails with updated information and occasionally on products and / or services of interest. For this we need you to check the following box to grant your consent. Remember that at any time you can exercise your rights of access, rectification and elimination of this data. You can consult all the additional and detailed information about Data Protection.

Featured news