Congressional Research Service. July 12, 2012.
Hydraulic fracturing is a technique developed initially to stimulate oil production from wells in declining oil reservoirs. With technological advances, hydraulic fracturing is now widely used to initiate oil and gas production in unconventional (low-permeability) oil and gas formations that were previously inaccessible. This process now is used in more than 90% of new oil and gas wells. The report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the SDWA, the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water.
https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41760.pdf [PDF format, 42 pages].
Congressional Research Service. April 10, 2012.
The rapidly increasing and geographically expanding use of hydraulic fracturing, along with a growing number of citizen complaints and state investigations of well water contamination attributed to this practice, has led to calls for greater state and/or federal environmental regulation and oversight of this activity. This report reviews past and proposed treatment of hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA), the principal federal statute for regulating the underground injection of fluids to protect groundwater sources of drinking water. It reviews current SDWA provisions for regulating underground injection activities, and discusses some possible implications of, and issues associated with, enactment of legislation authorizing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to regulate hydraulic fracturing under this statute.
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41760.pdf [PDF format, 38 pages].
U.S. Government Accountability Office. Web posted February 8, 2012.
Water is a significant byproduct associated with oil and gas exploration and production. This water, known as “produced water,” may contain a variety of contaminants. If produced water is not appropriately managed or treated, these contaminants may present a human health and environmental risk. GAO was asked to describe (1) what is known about the volume and quality of produced water from oil and gas production; (2) what practices are generally used to manage and treat produced water, and what factors are considered in the selection of each; (3) how produced water management is regulated at the federal level and in selected states; and (4) what federal research and development efforts have been undertaken during the last 10 years related to produced water.
http://gao.gov/assets/590/587522.pdf [PDF format, 56 pages].