production wastes

Ohio EPA’S Draft Rules for Landfills and Transfer Facilities Accepting Oil & Gas Production Waste

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The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Division of Materials and Waste Management (DMWM) is in the process of finalizing rules, under OAC 3745-515 (Draft Rules), for the disposal of oil and gas (O&G) production waste, specifically for the receipt, acceptance, processing, handling, management, and disposal of radioactive material, including technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material (TENORM). The official title of the regulation is “Oil and Gas Production Waste Rules,” and a summary of the Draft Rules is as follows:

APPLICABILITY

  • Applicable to sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities subject to OAC 3745-27 (municipal solid waste regulations) and 3745-29 (industrial waste regulations).
  • Excluded from the Draft Rules are:
    • Residual waste landfills;
    • O&G production operations (including temporary storage adjacent to point of origination);
    • Re-used material from horizontal wells;
    • Injection well sites; and
    • Material that is not TENORM and has not contacted refined oil-based substances (ROBS).
  • If TENORM or ROBS are comingled with other drilling operation material, the mixed material is subject to the Draft Rules.
  • The Draft Rules do not limit applicability under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) statutes in Chapters 1509 (O&G), 3734 (solid and hazardous waste), and 3748 (radiation control).
  • It should be noted that although Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) has sole and exclusive authority to regulate the permitting, location, spacing, and related O&G activities in Ohio, Ohio EPA also has regulatory authority for sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities that accept and process O&G production wastes.
  • In addition, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) Bureau of Environmental Health and Radiation Protection (BEHRP) provides guidance for field scanning, sampling, and laboratory testing for Ra-226/228, which Ohio EPA is adopting under the Draft Rules.

DEFINITIONS

  • Drilling operation material (DOM) means material that results from drilling operations, including waste substances from exploration, development, stimulation, operations, or plugging, and TENORM associated with an injection well.
  • DOM is considered a solid waste.
  • Source-separated drill cuttings generated while advancing through the underground source of drinking water are not DOM.
  • TENORM is defined by reference to ORC 3748.01 and does not include drill cuttings with de minimus liquids; however, there are additions to the ORC 3748.01 definition, including:
    • ROBS;
    • Used frac sands;
    • Tank bottoms;
    • Pipe scale;
    • Used injection-well filter media; and
    • TENORM mixed with other materials.
  • For comparison, TENORM defined in ODNR’s Draft O&G Facility Rules also includes seven (7) “add-ons” to the ORC 3748.01 definition that are similar to those proposed by Ohio EPA above.
  • Drill cuttings, drilling operation, and horizontal well have the same meaning as the ORC definitions.
  • The Draft Rule definitions do not override OAC 3745-500-02 (Ohio EPA General Administration definitions).

INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE

  • The “Solid Waste Disposal Facility Radioactive Material Detection Program” (amended June 14, 2016) issued by ODH BEHRP is incorporated by reference.

PROHIBITIONS

  • Sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities cannot:
    • Accept TENORM with Ra-226/228 greater than five (5) pCi/g above background concentration (non-exempt TENORM) without authorization from ODH BEHRP. In Ohio, background concentration is considered to be two (2) pCi/g, making the threshold seven (7) pCi/g.
    • Accept DOM that has not been stabilized with material other than Portland cement or quicklime or anther material authorized by ODNR under ORC Chapter 1509.
    • Accept DOM that is bulk liquids or sludges without authorization from ODNR under ORC Chapter 1509 and shall not commingle solid waste or any other material not authorized in the Draft Rule during the solidification process.

RESOLUTION OF CONFLICTS AMONG AUTHORITIES

  • Compliance with the Draft Rule is required when there is conflict with another authorizing document.
  • Compliance with an Order is required when there is conflict with the Draft Rule. Once the Order is terminated or ceased, compliance with the Draft Rule is required.
  • The Draft Rule shall not infringe upon ODH BEHRP authority statute, including issuing orders, inspections, and enforcement standards.

PERMIT TO INSTALL (PTI)

  • Sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities shall obtain a permit from Ohio EPA to accept and process non-exempt TENORM under the solid waste (OAC 3745-27) and industrial waste (OAC 3745-29) regulations.
  • A permit to install (PTI) from Ohio EPA is required prior to construction of sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities to process DOM and/or TENORM.

NOTIFICATION

  • Sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities are required to have authorization for DOM transfer or disposal from ODH BEHRP.
  • If not accepting DOM upon the effective date of the Draft Rule, a notice of intent to Ohio EPA is required.
  • If already accepting DOM, a notice of intent to continue accepting DOM is required within 30 days following the effective date of the Draft Rule.
  • Sanitary landfills and solid waste transfer facilities cannot accept non-exempt TENORM until Ohio EPA approves any required modification to the facility PTI.

OPERATIONAL CRITERIA

  • Implementation of a written radiation protection and detection program is required.
  • Analysis for Ra-226/228 is required for TENORM material.
  • A daily log is required documenting the waste type and amount received.
  • Leachate will be tested for Ra-226/228 annually.
  • Groundwater monitoring wells will be tested for Ra-226/228 semi-annually.
  • State disposal fees will be levied on DOM.

PROHIBITED MATERIALS – RADIATION PROTECTION PROGRAM

The radiation protection program shall include:

  • Implementation of the written radiation protection plan.
  • Monitoring of incoming waste with radiation portal monitors (RPMs).
  • Pre-acceptance screening procedures that include:
    • Identification of sources;
    • Generator profiles;
    • Well pad name and location;
    • DOM description;
    • Processes used to remove fluids and stabilization agents used;
    • Procedures for the collection of representative samples;
    • Procedures for pre-acceptance screening, acceptance, and record keeping;
    • Refusal of material procedures; and
    • Detections by RPMs require laboratory testing and must be below non-exempt Ra-226/228 concentrations prior to disposal.

COMMENTS ON THE DRAFT RULES

Ohio EPA is accepting comments from stakeholders regarding the Draft Rules until May 12, 2017. Comments may be submitted to Michelle Mountjoy (michelle.mountjoy@epa.ohio.gov).

QUESTIONS/CONTACT INFORMATION

If you have any questions regarding the proposed Draft Rules, please contact Ababu Gelaye at agelaye@cecinc.com or (614) 917-3247, and/or Roy Stanley at rstanley@cecinc.com or (614) 545-1260 in CEC’s Worthington, Ohio, office.