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State regulation of wastewater is questioned

A new report from Environmental Advocates of New York is questioning the state's regulation of wastewater from oil and gas wells. The study is based on about 100 drilling applications filed with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

While high-volume hydraulic fracturing is not allowed in New York, the thousands of active oil and gas wells in the state all produce some waste. The study's author, Katherine Nadeau, says the DEC requires too few details about how that wastewater is disposed of.

"There's no way to tell where the waste is going and there's no way to tell if it in fact was ever handled appropriately," Nadeau said.

Nadeau says the DEC should require more information before issuing drilling permits.

In an e-mailed response, DEC spokesperson Emily DeSantis says wastewater haulers provide information on the final destination and volume of wastewater they transport. She says the new drilling regulations for hydraulic fracturing, which are expected to be released sometime this year, will include a process to monitor drilling waste.

Matt Richmond comes to Binghamton's WSKG, a WRVO partner station in the Innovation Trail consortium, from South Sudan, where he worked as a stringer for Bloomberg, and freelanced for Radio France International, Voice of America, and German Press Agency dpa. He has worked with KQED in Los Angeles, Cape Times in Cape Town, South Africa, and served in the Peace Corps in Cameroon. Matt's masters in journalism is from the Annenberg School for Communication at USC.