Pennsylvania’s state hydraulic fracturing regulations are uniquely identified and used accordingly in respect to the state’s geographic region. The Department of Protection (DEP) believes that environmental requirements and compliance reporting is a fundamental part of environmental protection that brings individuals, businesses and local governments together.
Since 1950, hydraulic fracturing has been a used in Pennsylvania as a drilling technique. By 1980, nearly all wells drilled in Pennsylvania had been fractured. For more than half a century, fracturing regulations have been in place, and to date, the DEP has yet to find a case of contaminated groundwater as a result of hydraulic fracturing. State regulators see the majority of issues with surface and subsurface control associated with hydraulic fracturing. Therefore, heavier regulations are put into place, Prevention, Preparedness and Contingency (PPC) plans; pits, tanks and centralized impoundments; and hydraulic fracturing wastewater management.
In recent year the development of Marcellus shale brought more regulations from BOGM to require water management plans ensuring that surface water quality standards were maintained and protected.
Wastewater from hydraulic fracturing is managed in four different ways in Pennsylvania:
1. Reused to fracture additional wells
2. Treated and discharged to surface water
3. Injected into underground disposal wells; and
4. Transported to out-of-state facilities.