W. V. Legislature Passes H.B. 107

On March 14, 2014, the W.V. Legislature passed H.B. 107, which amended the Solid Waste Management Act (W. Va. Code §§22-15-8 and 22-15-11) to allow for the receipt of additional drilling waste at certain commercial solid waste facilities in excess of the facility’s existing tonnage limit, if certain conditions are met.  The legislation imposes an additional horizontal drilling waste assessment fee of $1 per ton for the disposal of drill cuttings and drilling waste generated by horizontal well sites. 

To qualify for the receipt of additional drilling waste, the commercial solid waste facilities must:

  • not be located in counties within a karst region;
  • place the drill cuttings and associated drilling waste in a separate cell (meeting certain standards) dedicated solely to the disposal of drill cuttings and drilling waste;
  • obtain Certificate of Need on or before March 8, 2014 from Public Service Commission authorizing the separate cell;
  • have already applied by December 31, 2013 for a permit modification to construct a separate cell to accept drill cuttings and associated drilling wastes without counting the deposited drill cuttings and associated drilling waste towards the landfill’s permitted monthly limits;
  • not exclude or refuse to take municipal solid waste in the quantity up to an including its permitted tonnage limit while the facility is allowed to lawfully receive drill cuttings or drilling waste above its permitted tonnage limits; and
  • install radiation monitors by January 1, 2015.

The secretary of the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection must promulgate emergency and legislative rules establishing limits for unique toxins associated with drill cuttings and drilling wastes including, but not limited to, heavy metals, petroleum-related chemicals, (benzene, toluene, xylene, barium, chlorides, radium and radon) and establish the procedures the facility must follow if that limit is exceeded.  The secretary shall submit a report to the legislature addressing the hazardous characteristics of such leachate; potential negative impacts on surface or groundwater resources; the technical and economic feasibility and benefits of establishing additional and/or separate disposal locations which are funded, constructed, owned and/or operated by the oil and gas industry; and viable alternatives for the handling, treatment and disposal of drill cuttings.

Laura Goldfarb helps clients resolve their environmental policy, regulation, and enforcement problems. Prior to joining Steptoe & Johnson, Ms. Goldfarb was Assistant Counsel at the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, where she represented the agency in a variety of matters relating to the state's environmental programs, and drafted regulatory and statutory environmental provisions for the State of West Virginia.
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