In a notice published in the Federal Register on November 9, 2012, EPA invited the public to identify and submit relevant data and scientific literature to inform its pending study of the impacts of fracking on drinking water. This study was undertaken at the request of Congress and includes analysis of water use in all stages of the fracking process, including water acquisition, mixing and injection of fracking fluids, management of flowback, and ultimate treatment and disposal. EPA's notice inviting the public to submit data comes after repeated criticism of the Agency's approach to this study. For instance, an industry-funded report released in June stated that site data slated to be used for the EPA study is too old to be relied upon.
EPA will accept data and literature from the public until April 30, 2013. The Agency expects to publish a progress report on this study in December 2012, and a final draft report for peer review and comment in 2014.