Effective June 12, 2006, EPA has taken final action to codify in the Agency’s regulations changes to the Federal Water Pollution Control Act, also known as the “Clean Water Act” or “CWA,” resulting from the Energy Policy Act of 2005. This action modifies the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System regulations to provide that certain storm water discharges from field activities or operations, including construction, associated with oil and gas exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission facilities are exempt from National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit requirements. EPA interprets the term “transmission facilities” to include all necessary infrastructure to deliver natural gas or crude oil from the producing fields to the final distribution center (in the case of natural gas) or the refinery (for crude oil). Entities potentially affected by this action include operators of oil and gas exploration, production, processing, or treatment operations or transmission facilities and associated construction activities at oil and gas sites that generally are defined in the following North American Industrial Classification System (NAICS) codes and titles:
- 211 – Oil and Gas Extraction
- 213111 – Drilling Oil and Gas Wells
- 213112 – Support Activities for Oil and Gas Operations
- 48611 – Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil
- 48621 – Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas
The EPA encourages voluntary application of best management practices for oil and gas field activities and operations to minimize the discharge of pollutants in storm water runoff and protect water quality.