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North Dakota Sets New Disposal Well Permit Requirements

New permit requirements are set for oil, natural gas and saltwater disposal wells in North Dakota's Williston Basin, the Oil/Gas Division in the state Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) said on Wednesday. They are effective June 1.

Last month DMR notified all well operators in the state that they would have to use waste haulers licensed by the state Department of Health, and a DMR spokesman told NGI's Shale Daily the new requirements will apply to the state's approximately 1,500 already permitted wells that have not yet been drilled as well as all new permit applications.

"Covered, leak-proof containers designated for filter sock disposal are required to be onsite at saltwater disposal wells at all times, and onsite during the drilling, completion and flowback phases of all new drilled oil/gas wells," the spokesman said.

DMR officials emphasized that existing state law requires well operators to "properly dispose" of any oilfield waste produced at the drilling site. The new permit requirements are supposed to bolster compliance by requiring well sites to include containers for onsite collection of filter socks.

The requirements are separate from a broad set of administrative rules that DMR put in effect April 1 (see Shale Daily, March 13). With heavy industry input, more than 40 sections of code were modified or added in the 2013-2014 oil and gas administrative code changes.

DMR said the state health agency recently selected Next Generation Solutions to handle the cleanup and disposal of illegally dumped filter socks in an abandoned service station in the town of Noonan, ND. The cleanup will take two days and be carried out during April. DMR's Oil/Gas Division will pay for the work through the state's "abandoned oil and gas well plugging and site restoration funds." They provide cleanup funds when no responsible party can be found, and the funds come from oil/gas taxes, penalties and fees.

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