Drilling Wastes Going to Short Creek Landfill in Ohio County (Wheeling)

by Duane Nichols on May 17, 2011

WHEELING – With permission from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Chesapeake Energy is dumping waste at the Short Creek Landfill, according to the Wheeling Intelligencer. “The advantage of taking this waste to the landfills is there are protective liners in landfills and the leachate is collected and tested,” said DEP spokeswoman Kathy Cosco. “This is really drilling waste, which includes drill cuttings and the drilling mud that is used in the process.” 

During a recent federal court hearing in a case in which Wetzel County property owners Larry and Jana Rine are suing Chesapeake for allegedly dumping benzene and radioactive material into a large hole on the Rines’ property, Chesapeake attorney Timothy Miller noted Chesapeake has been taking drilling waste to the Short Creek Landfill on North Fork Road. Monitors for radioactive material are in place there.

Kosco said the DEP regulates West Virginia’s landfills but does not have a specific regulation for the disposal of drilling waste. She said the drill cuttings are classified as “special waste,” like gasoline contaminated waste resulting from highway accidents.  The DEP sent letters to landfills in 2009 to let them know they would need to modify their permits to accept the drilling waste. Testing for certain metals and petroleum hydrocarbons is required under the new regulations.

Dumping the waste in landfills may be a viable alternative for natural gas drillers because West Virginia’s public water systems are no longer able to accept drilling waste. According to the DEP, Wheeling-based Liquid Assets Disposal allegedly dumped briny wastewater from gas drilling sites at the Center Wheeling pollution plant from January 2009 to February 2010. During this time, LAD allegedly exceeded the 9,000-pound daily chloride limitation for Wheeling’s plant on about 50 occasions. This resulted in the DEP issuing a $414,000 fine against the city.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

cindy rank May 18, 2011 at 1:20 pm

These are the ‘cuttings’ and waste from the drilling process itslf… not the flowbac, frac or produced waters that come back after fracking……

True, there are questions about NORMs, radioactive material in the cuttings, etc., that may be (and have been all along with drilling here in Upshur County) sent to landfills. But the chloride problems in public water systems and municipal water treatment facilities are associated with the frac, fowback and produced waters….. not these drilling cuttings….

We can’t really equate the two…


DR May 20, 2011 at 12:36 am

The Short Creek Landfill has also agreed to take the drill cuttings from Northeast Natural Energy’s two controversial Marcellus wells at the Morgantown Industrial Park, as stated in their permits 47-061-01622 and 47-061-01624.


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