In an effort to minimize the disposal in sanitary licensed landfills of drill cuttings and other materials generated during horizontal drilling operations, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is evaluating options for the beneficial reuse of this material.

Specifically on May 13, 2014, Ohio EPA initiated Early Stakeholder Outreach requesting input on its evaluation of the types and volumes of drill cutting and other materials that may be available for beneficial reuse, and on the appropriate use of these materials. Given that a significant volume of material from a horizontal well will be drill cuttings that may contain refined oil-based substances (but which are not Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (TENORM), the Ohio EPA would like to provide options for the reuse of this material in place of landfill disposal.

Ohio EPA is requesting comments and suggestions on options for the beneficial reuse of this material including:

  • Identification of any other horizontal well materials that are not drill cuttings that have come into contact with refined oil-based substances
  • Information regarding how horizontal well materials that have been in contact with refined oil-based substances are identified and segregated from other drilling waste
  • Information regarding the characteristics of materials that the agency should consider for beneficial use including the nature and levels of refined oil-based substances
  • Information regarding the degree of variability in the material, its characteristics, and the type of refined oil-based substances
  • Information regarding the types of beneficial uses suited to this material
  • Information regarding the processes and treatment methods that might be utilized to prepare the material for beneficial use

The “Early Stakeholder” comment period runs through June 16, 2014. This is an opportunity for regulated industry to assist and encourage the Ohio EPA to provide options for the beneficial reuse of this material and to minimize disposal costs.