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FINAL EFFLUENT GUIDELINES ISSUED FOR SYNTHETIC-BASED DRILLING FLUIDS
Release Date: 01/25/2001
FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, JANUARY 25, 2001
FINAL EFFLUENT GUIDELINES ISSUED FOR
SYNTHETIC-BASED DRILLING FLUIDS
Final standards and guidelines for discharges into waterways from oil and gas drilling operations that use synthetic-based drilling fluids were issued on Jan. 22. EPA expects implementation of this rule to reduce annual discharges of pollutants into water by 118 million pounds per year, to reduce air emissions by nearly 3,000 tons a year, and to reduce energy use by the equivalent of 200,817 barrels of oil from new and existing sources. EPA projects that the overall economic effect will be a significant savings in operating costs, to result in an annual savings of $48.9 million, with no adverse economic impacts to drilling operators. The new rule applies to oil and natural gas extraction drilling beyond three miles from shore. Most of the affected facilities are located beyond three miles from shore in the Gulf of Mexico, beyond three miles off the coast of California, and off Cook Inlet, Alaska. The rule does not apply to offshore oil and gas facilities located within three miles of a coastal area, which are covered by a separate effluent guideline allowing no discharges. Effluent limitation guidelines are national regulations, specific to individual industries, issued under the Clean Water Act that control the discharge of pollutants to surface waters and to publicly-owned treatment works. The effluent guidelines program is one of EPA’s most successful environmental protection programs, reducing the public health and environmental impact of pollutant discharges in over 50 industrial categories since 1974. Additional information on the Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for Synthetic-Based Drilling Fluids is available at: https://www.epa.gov/ost/guide/sbf/.