As states develop and revise hydraulic fracturing regulations and standards, the need for improved best management practices for containment, waste management and other forms of environmental protection will likely increase at gas drilling, storage and transfer sites.
Best management practices can and should be established for a variety of operations and processes at oil and gas production sites, including secondary containment, fluid transfer, waste collection and spill control and cleanup.
Oil and sediment are leading contributors to stormwater pollution. Control oil and sediment by:
- Establishing a perimeter to prevent fluid and sediment migration with containment pads, berms and covered storage units.
- Capturing spills that breach the boarders of containment pads with oil-absorbing booms, which can be deployed for a long period of time if the material is UV-resistant.
- Limiting the flow of sediment and oil with oil-only absorbent booms and pillows, which can be used independently and in place of a corrugated pipe to create a wall under pad liners.
Transferring, dispensing and mixing chemicals increase spill potential even if containers are housed on containment pads. Prevent workers and vehicles entering and leaving drilling sites from tracking liquid around and creating slip hazards by:
- Capturing minor spills with containment decks until they can be vacuumed. Decks can be used independently or linked with other decks to increase coverage and sump capacity.
- Deploying portable containment pools under hose connections and other areas prone to leaks. Pools pop-up quickly and some can contain up to 400 gallons. Most can be cleaned and stored for future use.
Waste and other liquids at well sites must be properly handled to reduce stormwater and drinking water contamination. Avoid violating hazardous waste regulations by:
- Using drum funnels to collect non-bulk liquid wastes in drums. These funnels easily latch to keep containers closed and in compliance. They also have vents to control vapor emissions and cut down on fluid transfer time.
- Using latching drum lids for open-head solid waste drums that are opened and closed frequently. Continuous lid gaskets provide a firm seal and reduce vapor emissions.
Spill Control and Cleanup
It’s essential to have the right plans in place and product on hand to control and clean up spills. Minimize spill response downtime and reduce environmental impact by:
- Developing and maintaining a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and Spill Prevention Control and Countermeasures plan to prevent releases to nearby waterways.
- Stocking spill response trailers with absorbents. Keep in mind that different absorbents are compatible with certain liquids. Inventory all liquids that could spill before purchasing absorbents and buy accordingly.
- Disposing of absorbents in the same way the liquid or liquids they absorbed would be handled.
Establishing BMPs around properly storing and managing fluids improves the efficiency of drilling and collection processes while keeping stormwater and drinking water free of oil and sediment.