§ 78.62. Disposal of residual waste—pits.

 (a)  After the removal and disposal of the free liquid fraction of the waste under §  78.60(a) (relating to discharge requirements), the owner or operator may dispose of residual waste, including contaminated drill cuttings, in a pit at the well site if the owner or operator satisfies the following requirements:

   (1)  The waste is generated by the drilling or production of an oil or gas well that is located on the well site where the waste is disposed.

   (2)  The well is permitted under section 201 of the act (58 P.S. §  601.201) or registered under section 203 of the act (58 P.S. §  601.203).

   (3)  The requirements of section 215 of the act (58 P.S. §  601.215) are satisfied by filing a surety or collateral bond for wells drilled on or after April 18, 1985.

   (4)  Compliance is maintained with the act and this title.

   (5)  The disposal area is not within 200 feet measured horizontally from an existing building, unless the current owner thereof has provided a written waiver consenting to the disposal closer than 200 feet. The waiver shall be knowingly made and separate from a lease or deed unless the lease or deed contains an explicit waiver from the current owner.

   (6)  The disposal area is not within 100 feet of a stream, body of water or wetland.

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

   (8)  The bottom of the pit is a minimum of 20 inches above the seasonal high groundwater table.

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

   (10)  The pit is lined with a synthetic flexible liner that is compatible with the waste and 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 liner thickness shall be at least 30 mils. Adjoining sections of liners shall be sealed together in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions to prevent leakage. The operator may use an alternate liner or natural materials, if the material and the installation procedure to be used are approved by the Department. Notice of the approved liners and installation procedures will be published by the Department in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

   (11)  The liner shall be designed, constructed and maintained so that the physical and chemical characteristics of the liner are not adversely affected by 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.

   (12)  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. If the pit bottom or sides consist of rock, shale or other material that may cause the liner to fail and leak, a subbase of at least 6 inches of soil, sand or smooth gravel, or sufficient amount of an equivalent material shall be installed over the area as the subbase for the liner.

   (13)  Prior to placing material in the pit, the liner shall be inspected for lack of uniformity, damage and other imperfections that may cause the liner to leak. The owner or operator shall correct damages or imperfections before placing waste in the pit, and shall maintain the pit until closure of the pit.

   (14)  Prior to encapsulating the waste within the liner, the free liquid fraction of the waste shall be removed and disposed under §  78.60(a).

   (15)  The liner shall be folded over, or an additional liner shall be added, to completely cover the waste and the waste is shaped so that water does not infiltrate the liner and is not confined above the liner.

   (16)  Puncturing or perforating the liner is prohibited.

   (17)  The pit shall be backfilled to at least 18 inches over the top of the liner and graded to promote runoff with no depressions that would accumulate or pond water on the surface. The stability of the backfilled pit shall be compatible with the adjacent land.

   (18)  The surface area 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 erosion.

 (b)  A person may not dispose of residual waste, including contaminated drill cuttings, at the well site unless the waste meets the following requirements:

   (1)  The concentration of contaminants in the leachate from the waste does not exceed 50% of the maximum concentration in §  261.24 Table I (relating to characteristic of toxicity).

   (2)  The concentration of contaminants in the leachate from the waste does not exceed 50 times the primary maximum contaminant level in effect under §  109.202 (relating to State MCLs, MRDLs and treatment technique requirements).

   (3)  For other health related contaminants, the concentration of contaminants in the leachate from the waste does not exceed 50 times the safe drinking water level established by the Department.

   (4)  Leachate characteristics are determined in accordance with methods approved by the Department.

 (c)  The owner or operator may request to use solidifiers or other alternate practices for the disposal of residual waste, including contaminated 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.


   The provisions of this §  78.62 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 (241907) to (241909).

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); 25 Pa. Code §  78.56 (relating to pits and tanks for temporary containment); 25 Pa. Code §  78.57 (relating to control, storage and disposal of production fluids); and 25 Pa. Code §  78.61 (relating to disposal of drill cuttings).

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