Saturday, October 29, 2011

Management of Exploration and Production Waste from Fracking - Discharging into state waters is allowed


a. General requirements.

(1) Operator obligations. Operators shall ensure that E&P waste is properly stored, handled, transported, treated, recycled, or disposed to prevent threatened or actual significant adverse environmental impacts to air, water, soil or biological resources or to the extent necessary to ensure compliance with the concentration levels in Table 910-1, with consideration to WQCC ground water standards and classifications.

(2) E&P waste management activities shall be conducted, and facilities constructed and operated, to protect the waters of the state from significant adverse environmental impacts from E&P waste, except as permitted by applicable laws and regulations.

Reuse and recycling. To encourage and promote waste minimization, operators may propose plans for managing E&P waste through beneficial use, reuse, and recycling by submitting a written management plan to the Director for approval on a Sundry Notice, Form 4, if applicable. Such plans shall describe, at a minimum, the type(s) of waste, the proposed use of the waste, method of waste treatment, product quality assurance, and shall include a copy of any certification or authorization that may be required by other laws and regulations. The Director may require additional information.

b. Waste transportation.

(1) E&P waste, when transported off-site within Colorado for treatment or disposal, shall be transported to facilities authorized by the Director or waste disposal facilities approved to receive E&P waste by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. When transported to facilities outside of Colorado for treatment or disposal, E&P waste shall be transported to facilities authorized and permitted by the appropriate regulatory agency in the receiving state.

Waste generator requirements. Generators of E&P waste that is transported off-site shall maintain, for not less than five (5) years, copies of each invoice, bill, or ticket and such other records as necessary to document the following requirements A through F:

A. The date of the transport;

B. The identity of the waste generator;

C. The identity of the waste transporter;

D. The location of the waste pickup site;

E. The type and volume of waste; and

F. The name and location of the treatment or disposal site.

Such records shall be signed by the transporter, made available for inspection by the Director during normal business hours, and copies thereof shall be furnished to the Director upon request.

Produced water.

(1) Treatment of produced water. Produced water shall be treated prior to placement in a production pit to prevent crude oil and condensate from entering the pit.

(2) Produced water disposal. Produced water may be disposed as follows:

A. Injection into a Class II well, permitted in accordance with Rule 325.;

B. Evaporation/percolation in a properly permitted pit;

C. Disposal at permitted commercial facilities;

D. Disposal by roadspreading on lease roads outside sensitive areas for produced waters with less than 3,500 mg/l TDS when authorized by the surface owner. Roadspreading of produced waters shall not impact waters of the state, shall not result in pooling or runoff, and the adjacent soils shall meet the concentration levels in Table 910-1. Flowback fluids shall not be used for dust suppression.

E. Discharging into state waters, in accordance with the Water Quality Control Act and the rules and regulations promulgated thereunder.

i. Operators shall provide the Colorado discharge permit number, latitude and longitude coordinates, in accordance with Rule 215.f, of the discharge outfall, and sources of produced water on a Source of Produced Water for Disposal, Form 26, and shall include a U.S.G.S. topographic map showing the location of the discharge outfall.

ii. Produced water discharged pursuant to this subsection (2).E. may be put to beneficial use in accordance with applicable state statutes and regulations governing the use and administration of water.

F. Evaporation in a properly lined pit at a centralized E&P waste management facility permitted in accordance with Rule 908.


Produced water reuse and recycling. Produced water may be reused for enhanced recovery, drilling, and other approved uses in a manner consistent with existing water rights and in consideration of water quality standards and classifications established by the WQCC for waters of the state, or any point of compliance established by the Director pursuant to Rule 324D.

(4) Mitigation. Water produced during operation of an oil or gas well may be used to provide an alternative domestic water supply to surface owners within the oil or gas field, in accordance with all applicable laws, including, but not limited to, obtaining the necessary approvals from the WQCD for constructing a new "waterworks," as defined by Section 25-1-107(1)(X)(II)(A), C.R.S. Any produced water not so used shall be disposed of in accordance with subsection (2) or (3). Providing produced water for domestic use within the meaning of this subsection (4) shall not constitute an admission by the operator that the well is dewatering or impacting any existing water well. The water produced shall be to the benefit of the surface owner within the oil and gas field and may not be sold for profit or traded.

d. Drilling fluids.

(1) Recycling and reuse. Drilling pit contents may be recycled to another drilling pit for reuse consistent with Rule 903.

(2) Treatment and disposal. Drilling fluids may be treated or disposed as follows:

A. Injection into a Class II well permitted in accordance with Rule 325;

B. Disposal at a commercial solid waste disposal facility; or

C. Land treatment or land application at a centralized E&P waste management facility permitted in accordance with Rule 908.

Additional authorized disposal of water-based bentonitic drilling fluids. Water-based bentonitic drilling fluids may be disposed as follows:

A. Drying and burial in pits on non-crop land. The resulting concentrations shall not exceed the concentration levels in Table 910-1, below; or

B. Land application as follows:

Applicability. Acceptable methods of land application include, but are not limited to, production facility construction and maintenance, and lease road maintenance.

ii. Land application requirements. The average thickness of water-based bentonitic drilling fluid waste applied shall be no more than three (3) inches prior to incorporation. The waste shall be applied to prevent ponding or erosion and shall be incorporated as a beneficial amendment into the native soils within ten (10) days of application. The resulting concentrations shall not exceed those in Table 910-1.

iii. Surface owner approval. Operators shall obtain written authorization from the surface owner prior to land application of water-based bentonitic drilling fluids.

iv. Operator obligations. Operators shall maintain a record of the source, the volume, and the location where the land application of the water-based bentonitic drilling fluid occurred. Upon the Director’s written request, this information shall be provided within five (5) business days, in a format readily reviewable by the Director. Operators with control and authority over the wells from which the water-based bentonitic drilling fluid wastes are obtained retain responsibility for the land application operation, and shall diligently cooperate with the Director in responding to complaints regarding land application of water-based bentonitic drilling fluids.

v. Approval. Prior Director approval is not required for reuse of water-based bentonitic drilling fluids for land application as a soil amendment.

e. Oily waste. Oily waste includes those materials containing crude oil, condensate or other E&P waste, such as soil, frac sand, drilling fluids, and pit sludge that contain hydrocarbons.

(1) Oily waste may be treated or disposed as follows:

A. Disposal at a commercial solid waste disposal facility;

B. Land treatment onsite; or

C. Land treatment at a centralized E&P waste management facility permitted in accordance with Rule 908.

(2) Land treatment requirements:

A. Free oil shall be removed from the oily waste prior to land treatment.

B. Oily waste shall be spread evenly to prevent pooling, ponding, or runoff.

C. Contamination of stormwater runoff, ground water, or surface water shall be prevented.

D. Biodegradation shall be enhanced by disking, tilling, aerating, or addition of nutrients, microbes, water or other amendments, as appropriate.

E. Land-treated oily waste incorporated in place or beneficially reused shall not exceed the concentrations in Table 910-1.

F. When a threatened or significant adverse environmental impact from onsite land treatment exists, operators shall submit a Site Investigation and Remediation Workplan, Form 27, for approval by the Director. Treatment shall thereafter be completed in accordance with the workplan and Rules 909. and 910.

G. When land treatment occurs in an area not being utilized for oil and gas operations, operators shall obtain prior written surface owner approval.

Other E&P Waste. Other E&P waste such as workover fluids, tank bottoms, pigging wastes from gathering and flow lines, and natural gas gathering, processing, and storage wastes may be treated or disposed of as follows:

(1) Disposal at a commercial solid waste disposal facility;

(2) Treatment at a centralized E&P waste management facility permitted in accordance with Rule 908;
(3) Injection into a Class II injection well permitted in accordance with Rule 325; or

(4) An alternative method proposed in a waste management

What about radioactive materials that are pulled from the mining process?  Yes, we are aware of radioactive tracers that have a half-life of approximately 100 days, but we are referring to the natural radioactive uranium that is also mixed in with the produced water and other fluids. Is there a test the COGCC uses to determine the presence of radioactive materials?  If so, what does the industry do with the radiactive laden liquids?


please vote on poll below


  1. I can't believe this. However, it may be academic. In PA, drillers don't report waste water fully or accurately re: In response we are developing an automated waste water tracking system, for more info contact
    Bob Nast

  2. Tired of underwriting fracking with your state tax dollars? If enough of us say no-they will have to listen. You can view and sign the petition here: Get back your money.

    ReplyDelete is a medium for concerned citizens to express their opinions in regards to 'Fracking.' We are Representatives of Democracy. We are Fractivists. We are you.