PA DEP releases revised rulemaking for performance standards at oil & gas well sites
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has officially announced the latest draft revisions of the Environmental Protection Performance Standards at oil and gas well sites across the state.
HARRISBURG, PA, March 11, 2015 -- The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has officially announced the latest draft revisions of the Environmental Protection Performance Standards at oil and gas well sites across the state.
The latest revisions contribute to DEP's effort of continuing to modernize and strengthen the environmental controls employed by the industry to assure the protection of the environment, water resources and public safety.
The proposed amendments to Chapter 78 address surface activities at oil and gas well sites and center on five core areas. The regulation amendments are proposed to:
- Improve protection of water resources
- Add public resources considerations
- Protect public safety
- Address landowner concerns
- Enhance transparency and improve data management
"These areas reflect the emphasis of the comments we received," said Acting DEP Secretary John Quigley. "We received more than 24,000 comments and want to be deliberate and transparent as we seek continued input on the proposed revisions from our advisory committees and the public."
The specific proposed changes would:
- Require operators to demonstrate that streams and wetlands will be protected if the edge of the well pad is within 100 feet of the resource
- Require centralized wastewater impoundments to be permitted through more appropriate Residual Waste Regulations (with existing impoundments upgraded or closed within 3 years of the effective date)
- Expand the review of impacts that operators must conduct to include public resources, including approved wellhead protection areas
- Require operators to identify active, inactive and abandoned wells and submit a plan report to DEP at least 30 days prior to drilling
- Modernize notification and report submission to improve efficiency and ease reporting