The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has announced the latest draft revisions of the Environmental Protection Performance Standards at Oil and Gas Well Sites.
Acting DEP secretary John Quigley says the proposed rules enable drilling while protecting the environment.
The proposed amendments to Chapter 78 address surface activities at oil and gas well sites. The specific proposed changes would:
- Require operators to demonstrate that streams and wetlands will be protected if the edge of the well pad is within 100 feet of the resource.
- Require centralized wastewater impoundments to be permitted through more appropriate Residual Waste Regulations (with existing impoundments upgraded or closed within three years of the effective date).
- Expand the review of impacts that operators must conduct to include public resources, such as schools, playgrounds and approved wellhead protection areas.
- Require operators to identify active, inactive, orphan and abandoned wells and submit a plan report to DEP at least 30 days prior to drilling.
- Create standards for noise control and mitigation.
- Modernize notification and report submission to improve efficiency and ease reporting.
The proposed amendments will be discussed at the upcoming meetings of the Oil and Gas Technical Advisory Board (TAB) and Conventional Oil and Gas Advisory Committee (COGAC), which is in formation, in late March.
Following these advisory committee meetings, the proposed amendments will be opened for a 30-day public comment period April 4.
Oil and gas drillers in Pennsylvania are finding it increasingly difficult to find disposal sites for their radioactive waste, according to a Power Source article published last fall.
In the first half of this year, 421 trucks carrying oil and gas waste tripped radiation alarms at Pennsylvania landfills, and last year 1,015 loads set off the alarms, up slightly from 2012, according to the state DEP.
Photo Credit: drill rig via Shutterstock