United States
                 Environmental Protection
                 Agency
Office of Water
4305
                                   October 1996
                FACT SHEET
   Final Effluent Limitations Guidelines and Standards for the Coastal
    Subcategory of the Oil and Gas Extraction Point Source Category

 Summary
 This regulation limits the discharge of pollutants into waters of the United States and the
 introduction of pollutants into publicly-owned treatment works by existing and new facilities in
 the coastal subcategory of the oil and gas extraction point source category.  The final rule
 requires most coastal oil and gas operations to refrain from any discharge of pollutants into
 environmentally sensitive coastal waters.  The major waste streams being limited are produced
 water, drilling fluids, and drill cuttings.
 Environmental and Human Health
 Concerns
 Coastal waters are typically highly sensitive
 to pollutant discharges compared to open
 offshore areas.  Many of the pollutants that
 are discharged by producing wells and
 production facilities are toxic to aquatic life
 or humans or are known to cause cancer.
 The impacts of these pollutants on aquatic
 life include acute toxicity, chronic toxicity,
 adverse effects on reproductive functions,
 physical destruction of spawning and
 feeding habitats, and  loss of prey
 organisms. Many of these pollutants are
 persistent in the environment, are resistant
 to biodegradation, and accumulate in
 sediments and aquatic organisms. These
 coastal oil and gas operations also discharge
 a high volume of conventional pollutants
 such as solids.

 Environmental Benefits
 This rule provides increased protection to
the sensitive ecosystems of coastal waters
along the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska  by
limiting discharges of pollutants from more
than 9,300 producing wells and production
facilities into these waters. It reinforces
current zero discharge requirements for
    producing wells and production facilities in
    coastal Florida, California, and Alabama.

    The final rule will benefit the environment
    by removing toxic pollutants from water
    discharges that have adverse effects on
    human health and aquatic life.  These
    limitations are expected to reduce
    discharges of toxic pollutants by more than
    two hundred thousand pounds per year,
    conventional pollutants by 2.8  million
    pounds per year, and nonconventional
    pollutants by approximately 1.5 billion
    pounds per year.

    Effluent Limitations Guidelines
    Effluent limitations guidelines are national
    regulations that establish  restrictions on
   the discharge of pollutants to surface
   waters or to publicly owned treatment
   works by specific  categories of industries.
   The requirements are developed by EPA
   based upon the application of specific
   process or treatment technologies to
   control pollutant discharges. Although the
   guidelines are developed based  upon
   particular technologies, EPA does not
   require that dischargers use these
   technologies. Individual facilities may meet
   the requirements using whatever

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combination of treatment technologies and
process changes they choose. Since
guidelines were first issued in 1974, EPA
has promulgated limitations and standards
for 51  industrial categories.

Guidelines for Coastal  OH and Gas
This rule establishes effluent limitations
guidelines for direct dischargers at the
following levels of controls:

  Best practicable control technology
   currently available (BPT)

  Best conventional pollutant control
   technology (BCT)

  Best available technology economically
   achievable (BAT).

The  regulation  also establishes "new source
performance standards" (NSPS) for direct
dischargers and "pretreatment standards
for existing and new sources" (PSES and
PSNS, respectively) discharging to publicly
owned treatment works.

Under the final rule, oil and gas extraction
facilities in coastal  locations will be required
to achieve zero discharge for produced
water; treatment, workover, and
completion fluids; drilling fluids; drill
cuttings; and dewatering effluent, except in
Cook Inlet, Alaska (see discussion below).
The final rule also prohibits the discharge of
produced water from offshore facilities into
coastal waters.

Cook Inlet Limitations
Physical attributes  of the oil and gas
extraction activities in Cook Inlet, Alaska
render zero discharge of produced water;
treatment, workover, and completion fluids;
drilling fluids; drill cuttings; and dewatering
effluent technically or economically
unachievable.  This regulation requires
facilities in Cook Inlet to meet the same
discharge limitations as those required for
offshore oil and gas facilities on free oil,"
diesel oil, mercury, cadmium, and toxicity
for drilling Wastes. It also establishes
limitations on oil and grease for produced
water and prohibits the discharge of
produced sand; these requirements are also
the same as currently required for offshore
facilities.

Cost to Implement
EPA estimates that the total annual costs
of the final rule are $16.2 million, which
EPA has determined to be economically
achievable.  When EPA analyzed  the
potential impact of the rule on small
facilities, EPA found that most small
facilities are already in compliance or are
already covered by permit requirements
equivalent to the rule's discharge
limitations.  Thus,  the rule will not have
any adverse economic impact on them.

Additional Information
For additional information concerning this
rule, contact Mr. Charles E. White, Office
of Water, Engineering and Analysis Division
(4303), U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, 401 M Street, SW, Washington,
DC, 20460, (202)  260-5411.

To view the complete text of the Federal
Register notice on the Internet:
http://www.epa.gov/EPA-WATER.  This
notice gives complete information on how
to obtain additional information and how to
review the complete public record for this
rulemaking, including EPA's responses to
comments received during the rulemaking.

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