§ 78.57. Control, storage and disposal of production fluids.
(a) Unless a permit has been obtained under § 78.60(a) (relating to discharge requirements), the operator shall collect the brine and other fluids produced during operation, service and plugging of the well in a tank, pit or a series of pits or tanks, or other device approved by the Department for subsequent disposal or reuse. Except as allowed in this subchapter or otherwise approved by the Department, the operator may not discharge the brine and other fluids on or into the ground or into the waters of this Commonwealth.
(b) Except as provided in § 78.56 (relating to pits and tanks for temporary containment), the operator may not use a pit for the control, handling or storage of brine and other fluids produced during operation, service or plugging of a well unless the pit is authorized by a permit under The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. § § 691.1691.1001) or approval to operate the pit as an impoundment under The Clean Streams Law is obtained from the Department under subsection (c).
(c) The operator may apply for approval from the Department to operate a pit as an impoundment under The Clean Streams Law, as indicated by the Departments issuance of a pit approval number in accordance with this section. No pit will be eligible for approval under this subsection unless the capacity of any one pit or of any two or more interconnected pits is less than 250,000 gallons, or the total capacity contained in pits on one tract or related tracts of land is less than 500,000 gallons. Compliance with this subsection does not relieve the operator from the obligation to comply with section 308 of The Clean Streams Law (35 P.S. § 691.308) and the requirements for obtaining a permit for the erection, construction and operation of treatment works promulgated under that section.
(1) A request for approval under this subsection shall be made on forms furnished by the Department and, at a minimum, shall include the following:
(i) A description of the operators plan that demonstrates compliance with this subsection for the construction or reconstruction of the pit.
(ii) A description of the operators program for operation and maintenance of the pit.
(iii) A description of the method for subsequent disposal or reuse of the brine or other fluids produced during operation of the well.
(iv) A description of the operators program for the closure of the pit and restoration of the site.
(2) The operator shall design, construct, operate and maintain the pit in accordance with the approval and the following:
(i) The pit approval number is posted at the pit in a legible and visible manner.
(ii) The pit is not located within 100 feet of a stream, wetland or body of water unless a waiver is granted by the Department.
(iii) The bottom of the pit is a minimum of 20 inches above the seasonal high groundwater table.
(iv) At least 2 feet of freeboard remain at all times.
(v) The pit is structurally sound and the inside slopes of the pit are not steeper than a ratio of 2 horizontal to 1 vertical.
(vi) The pit is impermeable and is lined with a synthetic flexible liner or alternate material that has a coefficient of permeability of no greater than 1 x 10-7 cm/sec. The liner shall be of sufficient strength and thickness to maintain the integrity of the liner. The thickness of a synthetic liner shall be at least 30 mils. Adjoining sections of liners shall be sealed together in accordance with the manufacturers directions to prevent leakage.
(vii) The physical and chemical characteristics of the liner shall be compatible with the waste and the liner is resistant to physical, chemical and other failure during transportation, handling, installation and use. Liner compatibility shall satisfy EPA Method 9090, Compatibility Test for Wastes and Membrane Liners, or other documented data approved by the Department.
(viii) The pit shall be constructed so that the liner subbase is smooth, uniform and free of debris, rock and other material that may puncture, tear, cut, rip or otherwise cause the liner to fail. The liner subbase and subgrade shall be capable of bearing the weight of the material above the liner without settling in an amount that will affect the integrity of the liner. If the pit bottom or sides consist of rock, shale or other material that may cause the liner to leak, a subbase of at least 6 inches of soil, sand or smooth gravel, or a sufficient amount of an equivalent material shall be installed over the area as the subbase for the liner.
(ix) Prior to placing brine or other fluids in the pit, the operator shall inspect the liner and correct all damage or imperfections that may cause the liner to leak.
(x) Surface water which may drain into the pit shall be diverted away from the pit.
(xi) The pit is reasonably protected from unauthorized acts of third parties.
(3) Upon abandonment of the well or revocation of the approval by the Department, the operator shall restore the pit in accordance with the following:
(i) The free liquid fraction of the pit contents shall be removed and disposed under § 78.60(a) and the remaining pit contents and liner shall be removed and disposed under § § 78.62 and 78.63 (relating to disposal of residual wastepits; and disposal of residual wasteland application), or the Solid Waste Management Act.
(ii) The pit shall be backfilled to the ground surface and graded to promote runoff with no depression that would accumulate or pond water on the surface. The stability of the backfilled pit shall be compatible with the adjacent land.
(iii) The surface of the backfilled pit area shall be revegetated to stabilize the soil surface and comply with § 78.53 (relating to erosion and sedimentation control). The revegetation shall establish a diverse, effective, permanent, vegetative cover which is capable of self-regeneration and plant succession. Where vegetation would interfere with the intended use of the surface by the landowner, the surface shall be stabilized against accelerated erosion.
The provisions of this § 78.57 adopted July 28, 1989, effective July 29, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 3229.
This section cited in 25 Pa. Code § 78.54 (relating to general requirements); 25 Pa. Code § 78.55 (relating to control and disposal planning); 25 Pa. Code § 78.56 (relating to pits and tanks for temporary containment); and 25 Pa. Code § 78.58 (relating to existing pits used for the control, storage and disposal of production fluids).
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