Groundwater Protection Council’s Produced Water Report: Regulations, Current Practices, and Research Needs

Recorded On: 03/05/2020

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) developed a report that examines current regulations, practices, and the research needed to expand the use of produced water, a byproduct of oil and gas production, as a resource.

Led by its member states, the GWPC brought together a collaboration of scientists, regulatory officials, members of academia, the oil and gas industry, and environmental groups to explore roles produced water might play in developing greater water certainty. The report consists of three focused modules which include: 

  • Module 1: Current Legal, Regulatory & Operational Frameworks 
  • Module 2: Produced Water Reuse in Unconventional Oil & Gas Operations
  • Module 3: Produced Water Reuse & Research Needs Outside Oil & Gas Operations

The report notes freshwater stress is driven by rising populations, regional droughts, declining groundwater levels and several other factors. When surface water is scarce, communities and industries typically turn to groundwater to meet their freshwater needs. Produced water could become a resource that could reduce the use of freshwater for some of these needs in specific locations.  

One of the concerns of the GWPC is the overuse of fresh groundwater resources and one of the aims of the report is to explore how produced water might help fill that gap. By identifying opportunities and challenges of using produced water and offering options for addressing them, the GWPC hopes to facilitate the development of produced water as a supplement to freshwater resources and fulfill its mission to promote the protection and conservation of groundwater for all beneficial uses.”

Most oil and natural gas produced water is reinjected deep underground into producing oil and gas reservoirs to enhance production or into porous rocks for disposal. Presently, the reuse of produced water accounts for approximately less than 1 percent of water produced although reuse appears to be increasing in some areas. The report identifies challenges currently limiting the reuse of produced water and provides a framework for the evaluation of reuse options, focusing primarily on research needs. In an effort to facilitate more research, the report also provides a literature review, based on search logic developed by the workgroup. This review catalogs nearly 550 published papers on produced water in one place.

This webinar is categorized under the Projects, Facilities, and Construction discipline.  

All content contained within this webinar is copyrighted by Ed Steele and its use and/or reproduction outside the portal requires express permission from Ed Steele.

Ed Steele

Principal, Ambiunt Environmental and Regulatory Consulting

Mr. Steele began his career as a hydrogeologist for the State of Pennsylvania. Following this, he spent a number of years as an environmental and geotechnical consultant and as the environmental manager for an international chemical manufacturing company. He spent 20 years with major international oil and gas companies. During this time, he had overall responsibility for providing strategic direction, building and overseeing the implementation of environmental programs as well as providing technical advice on water management and water treatment technology. Ed then acted as Environment, Geosciences and Water Technology Manager for GE Global Research and then transitioned into a role as Principal Technical Advisor for BHGE following a merger. Ed is currently the principal for Ambiunt Environmental and Regulatory Consulting. Ed has acted as a technical advisor to a number of university programs including the Advanced Water Technology Center at the Colorado School of Mines, the Center for Multiphase Transport Phenomena at Michigan State University, the Global Petroleum Research Institute at Texas A&M University and the Stanford Center for Induced and Triggered Seismicity. Ed has authored, edited and contributed to a number of professional publications and has had extensive international experience encompassing 36 countries and has worked on projects in 38 US states.

SPE Webinars are FREE to members courtesy of the



03/05/2020 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  60 minutes
03/05/2020 at 1:00 PM (EST)   |  60 minutes
20 Questions
0.10 CEU/1 PDH credits  |  Certificate available
0.10 CEU/1 PDH credits  |  Certificate available