State Regulations: Montana
The Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (MBOGC) is a quasi-judicial body that is attached to the Department of Natural Resources and Conservation (DNRC) for administrative purposes only. The MBOGC regulates the oil and gas industry and seeks to prevent oil and gas operations from harming nearby land or underground resources. Otherwise, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) administers the major environmental protection laws.
Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation
(Billings Office/Main Office)
2535 St. Johns Avenue
Billings, MT 59102
(406) 656-0040 (phone)
(406) 655-6015 (fax)
Montana Department of Environmental Quality
(Metcalf Building Office/Main Office)
1520 East Sixth Avenue
P.O. Box 200901
Helena, MT 59620
(406) 444-2544 (phone)
Disposal Practices and Applicable Regulations
The rules and regulations administered by the Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation (MBOGC) are found in Title 36, Chapter 22 of the Administrative Rules of Montana. Title 17 (various chapters) of the Administrative Rules of Montana contains the rules and regulations of the Montana Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ).
- Drilling Waste Disposal and Surface Restoration (Rule 36.22.1005).
- The operator of a drilling well must contain and dispose of all solid waste and fluids that accumulate during drilling operations so as not to degrade surface water, groundwater, or cause harm to soils. Disposal operations must comply with all applicable local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
- When a salt-based or oil-based drilling fluid is used to drill a well located within a floodplain or in irrigated cropland, drilling waste and fluids must be disposed of offsite in a manner allowed by local, state, and federal laws and regulations unless an alternative onsite disposal method is approved in writing by the board administrator.
- The operator of a drilling well must construct, close, and restore any reserve pits in a manner that will prevent harm to the soil and will not degrade surface waters or groundwater. When a salt-based or oil-based drilling fluid is used, the reserve pit must be lined with a synthetic liner approved by the board administrator.
- Within 10 days after the cessation of drilling or completion operations, all hydrocarbons must be removed from earthen pits used in association with drilling or completion operations, or such pits must be fenced, screened, and netted. Pits that contain water with more than 15,000 parts per million total dissolved solids or salt-based drilling fluids must be fenced within 90 days after the cessation of drilling and completion operations.
- Earthen pits used in association with drilling and completion operations must not be used for the disposal of any additional fluids or materials after the cessation of drilling and completion operations.
- All earthen pits used in association with drilling and completion operations must be closed and the surface restored according to board specifications within one year after the cessation of drilling operations. Upon written application by the operator, an exception to the one-year pit closure requirement may be granted in writing by the board administrator upon a showing that no dumping or disposal of waste or fluids in the pit will occur, and delayed closure of the pit will not present a risk of contamination to soils or water or a hazard to animals or person.
- Underground Injection Control Rules for Class II Wells (Title 36, Chapter 22, Subchapter 14 of the Administrative Rules of Montana).
- An oil and gas operator must apply for a permit to inject, providing specific data about the company and other required information.
- The proposal goes through a technical review as well as a public notice and hearing process.
- The MBOGC may regulate volume and characteristics of the injectate as well as operational requirements or limitations for the well.
- Each well must be tested at least every five years for mechanical integrity.
- Operators are also required to monitor the wells, characterize the injectate, and submit periodic reports.
- MDEQ rules and regulations include those governing water quality (Title 17, Chapter 30 of the Administrative Rules of Montana) and solid waste management (Title 17, Chapter 50 of the Administrative Rules of Montana).