State Regulations: Virginia
The Division of Gas and Oil in the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) regulates the effects of gas and oil operations both on and below the surface. The Virginia Gas and Oil Board is to foster, encourage, and promote the safe and efficient exploration for and development, production, and utilization of gas and oil resources. Otherwise, three regulatory citizen boards are responsible for adopting Virginia 's environmental regulations. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) staff administers the regulations as approved by the boards. Finally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3, through its Water Protection Division, administers Class II underground injection control (UIC) programs in Virginia in direct implementation.
Division of Gas and Oil
135 Highland Drive
Lebanon, VA 24266
(276) 415-9700 (phone)
(276) 415-9671 (fax)
Virginia Department of Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 10009
Richmond, VA 23240 (mailing address)
629 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219 (street address)
(804) 698-4000 (phone)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Region 3
Water Protection Division
1650 Arch Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-2029
(215) 814-2300 (phone)
Disposal Practices and Applicable Regulations
- Title 4 (Conservation and Natural Resources), Agency 25 (Department of Mines Minerals and Energy), Chapter 150 (Virginia Gas and Oil Regulation) of the Virginia Administrative Code (VAC) contains the rules administered by the Division of Gas and Oil. The DEQ administers the water regulations of the State Water Control Board and the waste regulations of the Virginia Waste Management Board.
- Disposal of Pit Fluids (4VAC25-150-420). Management options include onsite land application and offsite disposal. Drilling muds (4VAC25-150-340) tend to be hauled out of state to Texas.
- Disposal of Solids (4VAC25-150-430). All drill cuttings and solids shall be disposed of in an onsite pit or as approved by the Division of Gas and Oil. All other solid waste shall be disposed of in a facility permitted to accept that type of waste. Each operator must submit a description of how drill cuttings and solids will be disposed of in the operations plan. Onsite disposal in an approved pit may occur without testing the material. The drill cuttings and solids shall be covered with a liner or a low-permeability clay cap, and shall be covered by soil.
- Plugging for Abandonment or Plug Back Operations (4VAC-150-435). Prior to plugging operations, a plugging plan must be approved by the Division of Gas and Oil. Alternate plugging methods may be approved by variance. In the western part of Virginia, alternative methods of plugging wells may include using drill cuttings as a part of the spacers. This avenue is not available in the coastal plain of Virginia.
- Subsurface Injection. Virginia has no statutes, regulations, or policies that specifically address slurry injection, subfracture injection, and annular injection of drill cuttings and drilling muds.
- Other Disposal Methods. Virginia does not allow disposal of drill cuttings into salt deposits or coal beds. The EPA has approved the use of deep coal mines in Virginia for the disposal of drilling pit contents.