Compliance

POTABLE WATER IN THE OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY

There has been much confusion regarding potable water issues as they are related to oil and gas activities, such as drilling operations, man camps and gate guard services. In an effort to clear up the many misconceptions concerning potable water, we have compiled the necessary information including specic rules and regulations gathered from those agencies listed below whom have regulatory jurisdiction over these issues.

RRC (Railroad Commission of Texas)
While the RRC has the primary jurisdiction over the Oil and Gas Industry including hazardous and non-hazardous wastes associated with the exploration, development or production of O&G and injection wells for disposal of wastes, the RRC has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the RRC and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) relating to the public drinking water supply. The quality of the water (weather or not it is potable) is regulated by the TCEQ.

TCEQ (Texas Commission on Environmental Quality)
The TCEQ takes OSHA’s standards of employee’s rights to potable water one step further by regulating the hauling and storage of water. The TCEQ’s regulations ensure that water haulers, storage tanks, and Public Water System’s are safe for human consumption.

EPA (Environmental Protection Agency)
The EPA sets the national standards for drinking water according to the Safe Drinking Water Act and National Primary Drinking Water Regulation 40 CFR 141.

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
1910.141(b)(1) (i)
Listed under Oil and Gas Extraction-Standards and Enforcement.
Potable water shall be provided in all places of employment, for drinking, washing of the person, cooking, washing of foods, washing of cooking or eating utensils, washing of food preparation or processing premises, and personal service rooms.

1910.141(b)(2)(iii) Non-potable water shall not be used for washing any portion of the person, cooking or eating utensils or clothing.

Links to OSHA compliance pages: