§ 78.61. Disposal of drill cuttings.

 (a)  Drill cuttings from above the casing seat—pits. The owner or operator may dispose of drill cuttings from above the casing seat determined in accordance with §  78.83(b) (relating to surface and coal protective casing and cementing procedures) in a pit at the well site if the owner or operator satisfies the following requirements:

   (1)  The drill cuttings are generated from the well at the well site.

   (2)  The drill cuttings are not contaminated with pollutional material, including brines, drilling muds, stimulation fluids, well servicing fluids, oil, production fluids or drilling fluids other than tophole water, fresh water or gases.

   (3)  The disposal area is not within 100 feet of a stream, body of water or wetland unless approved as part of a waiver granted by the Department under section 205(b) of the act (58 P. S. §  601.205(b)).

   (4)  The disposal area is not within 200 feet of a water supply.

   (5)  The pit is designed, constructed and maintained to be structurally sound.

   (6)  The free liquid fraction of the waste shall be removed and disposed under §  78.60 (relating to discharge requirements).

   (7)  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.

   (8)  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 of the landowner, the surface shall be stabilized against erosion.

 (b)  Drill cuttings from above the casing seat—land application. The owner or operator may dispose of drill cuttings from above the casing seat determined in accordance with §  78.83(b) by land application at the well site if the owner or operator satisfies the following requirements:

   (1)  The drill cuttings are generated from the well at the well site.

   (2)  The drill cuttings are not contaminated with pollutional material, including brines, drilling muds, stimulation fluids, well servicing fluids, oil, production fluids or drilling fluids other than tophole water, fresh water or gases.

   (3)  The disposal area is not within 100 feet of a stream, body of water or wetland unless approved as part of a waiver granted by the Department under section 205(b) of the act (58 P. S. §  601.205(b)).

   (4)  The disposal area is not within 200 feet of a water supply.

   (5)  The soils have a minimum depth from surface to bedrock of 20 inches.

   (6)  The drill cuttings are not spread when saturated, snow covered or frozen ground interferes with incorporation of the drill cuttings into the soil.

   (7)  The drill cuttings are not applied in quantities which will result in runoff or in surface water or groundwater pollution.

   (8)  The free liquid fraction is disposed in accordance with §  78.60.

   (9)  The drill cuttings are spread and incorporated into the soil.

   (10)  The land application area shall be revegetated to stabilize the soil surface and comply with §  78.53. 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 erosion.

 (c)  Drill cuttings from below the casing seat. After removal of the free liquid fraction and disposal in accordance with §  78.60, drill cuttings from below the casing seat determined in accordance with §  78.83(b) may be disposed of as follows:

   (1)  In a pit that meets the requirements of §  78.62(a)(5)—(18) and (b) (relating to disposal of residual waste—pits).

   (2)  By land application in accordance with §  78.63(a)(5)—(20) and (b) (relating to disposal of residual waste—land application).

 (d)  The owner or operator may request to use solidifiers, dusting, unlined pits, attenuation or other alternative practices for the disposal of uncontaminated drill cuttings by submitting a request to the Department for approval. The request shall be made on forms provided by the Department and shall demonstrate that the practice provides equivalent or superior protection to the requirements of this section.

 (e)  A pit used for the disposal of residual waste, including contaminated drill cuttings, shall comply with §  78.62. Land application of residual waste, including contaminated drill cuttings, shall comply with §  78.63.

Source

   The provisions of this §  78.61 adopted July 28, 1989, effective July 29, 1989, 19 Pa.B. 3229; amended December 16, 1994, effective December 17, 1994, 24 Pa.B. 6284; amended March 30, 2001, effective March 31, 2001, 31 Pa.B. 1736. Immediately preceding text appears at serial pages (241905) to (241907).

Cross References

   This section cited in 25 Pa. Code §  78.54 (relating to general requirements); 25 Pa. Code §  78.55 (relating to control and disposal planning; emergency response for unconventional well sites); and 25 Pa. Code §  78.56 (relating to pits and tanks for temporary containment).



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