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Ohio Drafting Rules for Wastewater Impoundments

Regulators with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) are drafting rules governing centralized earthen impoundments that would temporarily hold wastewater from oil and gas drilling.

ODNR spokesman Mark Bruce told NGI's Shale Daily that the agency has started the process of drafting the rules for impoundments and hoped to have them completed by the end of the year. "We are creating a clear and transparent permitting process for companies to use." Once created the rules would need to be reviewed in public hearings and by the state General Assembly.

According to Ohio's latest biennial budget bill, HB 59 that was signed into law in June, effective Jan. 1, a permit or order will be required for anyone seeking to store, recycle, treat, process or dispose of wastewater or brine from oil and gas drilling. Permit applications cost $2,500.

Under current state law, the chief of the ODNR's Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (DOGRM) has the power to authorize an impoundment, but Bruce said so far no companies have asked for permission to develop one.

"Impoundments constructed utilizing a synthetic liner pursuant to the [DOGRM's] specifications may be used for the temporary storage of waste substances used in the construction, stimulation, or plugging of a well," the new law states. "No pit or dike shall be used for the ultimate disposal of brine or other liquid waste substances."

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