Effluent Guidelines

Oil and Gas Extraction Effluent Guidelines

Rule Summary

Oil and gas offshore well platform photoEPA promulgated the Oil and Gas Extraction (O&G) Effluent Guidelines and Standards (40 CFR Part 435) in 1979, and amended the regulations in 1993, 1996, and 2001. The regulations cover wastewater discharges from field exploration, drilling, production, well treatment and well completion activities. These activities take place on land, in coastal areas and offshore.
The O&G regulations apply to conventional and unconventional oil and gas extraction with the exception of coalbed methane. The regulatory requirements are incorporated into NPDES permits.
On this page:

What is the Oil and Gas Extraction Industry?

Oil and Gas Extraction is the exploration and production of petroleum and natural gas from wells. The industry generates wastewater from the water extracted from the geological formations and from chemicals used during exploration, well drilling and production of oil and gas.

These activities are included within NAICS code 211111, Crude Petroleum and Natural Gas Extraction. (Note: the NAICS group listings are provided as a guide and do not define the coverage of the O&G regulations. For precise definitions of coverage, see the applicability sections in 40 CFR Part 435.)

Facilities Covered

The O&G regulations apply to facilities organized into 5 subcategories:
  1. Offshore
  2. Onshore
  3. Coastal
  4. Agricultural and Wildlife Water Use
  5. Stripper Wells
Wastestreams Covered
All Subparts Subparts A & D Only
Produced water Domestic
Produced sand Sanitary
Drilling fluids Deck drainage
Drill cuttings  
Well treatment, workover & completion fluids  

Top of Page

Proposed Subpart C Amendments: Unconventional Extraction

EPA has issued a proposed rule to address wastewater pollutant discharges from onshore unconventional oil and gas extraction facilities to municipal wastewater treatment plants.

Top of Page

Coalbed Methane Extraction

EPA has not promulgated effluent limitations guidelines and standards for pollutant discharges from coalbed methane extraction facilities. EPA had initiated a coalbed methane rulemaking, but announced its decision to discontinue this effort in Fall 2014.

Top of Page

Rulemaking History

2001 Amendment

You will need Adobe Reader to view some of the files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.Added requirements for the discharge of synthetic-based drilling fluids (SBFs) and other non-aqueous drilling fluids

1996 Amendment

Added BAT, BCT, NSPS, PSES and PSNS, and revised BPT limitations for coastal facilities

1993 Amendment

Added BAT, BCT and NSPS requirements for offshore facilities
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule - Federal Register Notice (3/4/1993)
      • Development Document
    • Proposed Rules - Federal Register Notices:
      • 56 FR 1066, 3/13/1991
      • 55 FR 49094, 11/26/1990
      • 53 FR 41356, 10/21/1988 (Notice of Data Availability)
      • 50 FR 34592, 8/26/1985

1979 Initial Rulemaking

BPT limitations for Offshore; Onshore; Coastal; and Agricultural and Wildlife Water Use subcategories
  • Documents, including:
    • Final Rule - Federal Register Notice (4/13/1979)
    • Interim Final Rules:
      • 10/13/1976 (Subparts C through F)
      • 9/15/1975 (Subparts A and B)
        • Development Document

Top of Page

Additional Information

For additional information on existing Oil and Gas Extraction subcategories, please contact Ron Jordan (jordan.ronald@epa.gov) or 202-566-1003.

For additional information on Unconventional Extraction, please contact Lisa Biddle (biddle.lisa@epa.gov) or 202-566-0350.

Top of Page