The Dallas Gas Drilling Task Force has issued recommendations for regulation of hydraulic fracturing. The task force focused on zoning requirements, permitting requirements, air quality issues, and water-related issues. A few highlights:
- Locations will be more difficult to find. Wells must be 1,000 feet from residences, churches, schools and other community buildings. Setbacks of 500 feet would be permitted by majority vote of the City Council.
- Vacant park land might not be the answer. Drilling would be permitted on park department land if it is not currently used for a park, is adjacent to an industrial use area, and is not in an environmentally sensitive area.
- There are no water conservation restrictions; however, the Dallas Water Utilities is urged to consider water use by drilling operations in his drought contingency plans.
- Drilling costs are likely to be increased. Salt water disposal wells are prohibited. Operators will be required to pay for water monitoring and must test for a number of specified chemical compounds that could be connected to drilling activities. The operator must test the soil before, during, and after drilling and comply with remediation laws.
- There are noise abatement requirements. Fracking may not exceed 10 decibels above ambient noise levels; other operations cannot be more than five decibels above ambient noise in the daytime and three decibels above at nighttime.
- The EPA could be more involved in the future. The recommendations in several places require compliance with standards consistent with TCEQ or EPA regulations.
Go to www.dallasgasdrillingtaskforce.com to see the recommendations and other deliberations of the task force.