Despite recyling success, Williams opposes new pit-liner rule

One of the new oil and gas rules the industry finds most objectionable compels operators to remove and properly dispose of massive plastic pit liners used to contain toxic drilling fluids. Operators have previously simply buried the liners in unmarked sites at drilling locations.

But the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel on Wednesday reported that Williams, the Western Slope’s most productive natural gas drilling company, is enjoying remarkable success – and savings – recycling the pit liners for plastics and for use in asphalt plants.

Still, the company supports a push by the Colorado Petroleum Association to get the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission – the state agency in charge of regulating drilling activities – to drop the new requirement that pit liners be removed and disposed of in offsite locations such as landfills. The Garfield County landfill has stopped taking the liners because of concerns about toxicity and that the number of liners coming in could be overwhelming.

Williams wants other operators to get involved in recycling of pit liners but still backs changing the pit liner rule because it’s difficult to remove and recycle pit liners containing drilling cuttings.

[Photo of Pennsylvania fracking waste pit via]

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About the Author

David O. Williams

is an award-winning reporter who has covered energy, environmental and political issues for years. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and Denver Post. He's founder of Real Vail
and Real Aspen.

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