New Hydraulic Fracturing Water Recycling Rules Published in Texas Register
On April 12, 2013, new hydraulic fracturing water recycling rules (the "Water Recycling Rules") adopted by the Texas Railroad Commission on March 26, 2013 were published in the Texas Register. The Water Recycling Rules were adopted in order to encourage Texas hydraulic fracturing operators to conserve water used in the hydraulic fracturing process for oil and gas wells.
Among other things, the Water Recycling Rules eliminate the need for operators who recycle fluid on their own leases or transfer fluids to other operators’ leases for recycling to obtain a recycling permit from the Railroad Commission. The Water Recycling Rules also establish five categories of commercial recycling permits, which reflect the different types of hydraulic fracturing activity taking place in Texas: (i) On-lease Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling; (ii) Off-lease or Centralized Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling; (iii) Stationary Commercial Solid Oil and Gas Waste Recycling; (iv) Off-lease Commercial Recycling of Fluid; and (v) Stationary Commercial Recycling of Fluid. In addition, the Water Recycling Rules create a tiered approach which allows for both the reuse of treated fluids in oil and gas operations and the reuse of fluid for other non-oilfield related uses.