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Drilling Waste Management Information System: The information resource for better management of drilling wastes
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State Regulations: Nebraska

State of Nebraska

The Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (NOGCC) seeks to prevent waste, protect correlative rights of all owners, and encourage and authorize secondary recovery, pressure maintenance, cycling, or recycling, in order that the greatest ultimate recovery of oil and gas may be obtained within the state while protecting the environment. Otherwise, the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) administers the major environmental protection laws.


Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
922 Illinois Street, P.O. Box 399
Sidney, NE 69162
(308) 254-6919 (phone)
(308) 254-6922 (fax)

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality
1200 "N" Street, Suite 400
P.O. Pox 98922
Lincoln, NE 68509
(402) 471-2186 (phone)
(402) 471-2909 (fax)

Disposal Practices and Applicable Regulations

The Nebraska oil and gas rules and regulations are contained in Chapters 1 through 6 of the Oil and Gas Code. The rules and regulations governing the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality (NDEQ) are contained in Titles 114-124, 126-133, 135, 136, 194-200 of the Nebraska Administrative Code.

  • Reserve Pit Rules (Chapter 3 of the Oil and Gas Code).
    • Before commencing to drill, proper and adequate pits shall be constructed for the reception and confinement of mud and cuttings. Reserve pits used in the drilling and completion of oil and gas wells shall be designed and constructed to protect the surface and the waters of the state from pollution. Minimum criteria include using a minimum of two-foot freeboard, stockpiling all topsoil for use for reclamation, and ensuring that no non-exempt exploration and production waste is placed in the pits (Section 3-012.11).
    • For those reserve pits located within one-half mile of surface waters of the state, the operator's application must include certain additional information (Section 3-012.12).
    • If salt-based or oil-based muds are used during the drilling program or if a salt section of sufficient thickness to affect the mud quality is anticipated, then the reserve pit design and construction shall meet additional design criteria, especially with respect to liners (Section 3-012.13).
    • All pits shall be backfilled within one year after completion of drilling operations. The disposal of any oil field waste into any well shall be prohibited unless approved by the Director prior to disposal. Within thirty days after cessation of drilling operations, non-exempt exploration and production waste materials shall be contained in non-leaking containers and disposed of in accordance with all applicable NDEQ or federal regulations. In those areas where acceptable, and upon application and approval, land farming or land spreading of fresh water-based drilling mud may be allowed on the lease (Section 3-012.14).
    • After the reserve pits have been properly backfilled, a biodegradable mulch may be required if soil erosion or the establishment of vegetation is determined to be a problem by the Director (Section 3-012.15).

  • Plugging Rule (Chapter 3 of the Oil and Gas Code).
    • The material used in plugging, whether mud-laden fluid, cement, mechanical plug or some other suitable material, must be placed in the well in a manner to permanently prevent migration of oil, gas, water, or other substance from the formation or horizon in which it originally occurred (Section 3-028.01).

  • Underground Injection Well Regulations (Chapter 4 of the Oil and Gas Code).