Waste Separation Facilities

The Commission encourages recycling and waste minimization. To the extent practicable, waste management choices should be based upon the following preferences, beginning with the most preferred: source reduction, recycling, treatment, and disposal.

Mail the original application to:

Railroad Commission of Texas 
Technical Permitting 
P.O. Box 12967 
Austin, Texas 78711-2967
Surface Waste Management: 512-463-6805

File one copy of the application with the appropriate District Office.

An oil and gas waste separation facility is a facility where oil and gas waste is separated into its solid and liquid components prior to its disposal at off-site facilities. If an operator of a separation facility receives compensation from others for the separation of the oil and gas waste and the primary business purpose of the facility is to provide these services for compensation, the facility is considered a commercial oil and gas waste separation facility. Although the majority of completion and workover fluids are disposed of by injection into Class II disposal wells, in some cases the completion and workover fluids and/or wastewater from the washout of vacuum trucks contain too many solids to be disposed of via deep-well injection without prior treatment. The separation of the waste into its liquid and solid components may be achieved through the use of heat, chemicals and/or centrifuges. Typically, the liquids are disposed of via deep-well injection and the solids are disposed of at a landfill.

In December 2010, a notice was issued to all operators requiring a permit for commercial oil and gas waste separation facilities.  The practice of receiving oil and gas waste generated offsite on a commercial basis from various operators for the purpose of separating the liquids from the solids prior to disposal, whether oil and gas waste is contained in a pit(s) and/or above ground tank(s), is part of the overall waste disposal process and considered to be disposal under Rule 8. Financial security is required under Rule 78.

The following actions must be completed and the information submitted in the order requested before a commercial oil and gas waste separation facility application can be considered:

  1. Provide operator name, address, phone number, and contact person. Each organization performing activities subject to the jurisdiction of the Commission must maintain a current Organization Report (Form P-5) on file with the Commission’s Austin Office. Note that unless otherwise specified in an application, the permit and correspondence will only be mailed to the operator’s P-5 address.
  2. Notify surface owner of the permit application and submit a signed copy of your lease agreement. Submit a copy of the notification letter and indicate the date of notification. The complete application, including all attachments, must be provided to the surface owner as part of the notification process. Rule 8(d)(6)(c) states that a notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the complete application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission.
  3. Notify the city clerk or other appropriate city official of the permit application if the land where the facility is proposed is within corporate limits. The complete application, including all attachments, must be provided to the city clerk or other appropriate city official as part of the notification process. Rule 8(d)(6)(c) states that a notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the complete application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission.
  4. Notify offset surface owners of the permit application. Submit a copy of each notification letter sent to the offset surface owners, along with a statement indicating their names and addresses and the date that they were notified of the application. The complete application, including all attachments, must be provided to the offset surface owners as part of the notification process. Rule 8(d)(6)(c) states that a notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the complete application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission.
  5. Publish notice. Notice shall be published in accordance with Texas Natural Code § 91.116 (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/) as outlined below.
    1. The notice must include:
      1. the date the application was filed;
      2. a description of the location of the site for which the application was made, including the county in which the site is located, the name of the original survey and abstract number, and the direction and distance from the nearest municipality;
      3. the name of the owner of the site;
      4. the name of the applicant;
      5. the type of fluid or waste to be disposed of at the facility;
      6. the disposal method proposed; and
      7. the procedure for protesting the application.
    2. The notice must be published:
      1. at least once each week for two consecutive weeks with the first publication occurring not earlier than the date the application is filed and not later than the 30th day after the date on which the application is filed; and
      2. in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the proposed disposal would occur.
    3. Furnish a clipping of the published notice. It is recommended that the Form for Published Notice be used. Submit a sworn affidavit from the newspaper giving the date on which the notice was published and stating that the newspaper is of general circulation in the pertinent county. It is recommended that the Form for Affidavit of Publication be used.
  6. Submit a detailed description of procedure to be implemented for the receipt, processing and disposal of the oil and gas waste. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) must be submitted for all chemicals used in the separation process.
  7. Submit permit numbers for any disposal well(s) and permit numbers and location of any landfill(s) where waste will be disposed.
  8. Submit a description of the proposed site and surrounding area by the following:
    1. site coordinates in degrees, minutes, and seconds of longitude and latitude;
    2. a general description of the contour of the pit site, including any water 
      courses or drainageways;
    3. whether or not site is located in a flood prone area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (http://www.fema.gov/) can provide information on floodplains.
    4. direction of groundwater flow - indicate how this was determined; and
    5. distance to any residences, schools, churches, or hospitals within 500 feet of the proposed site.
  9. Submit the following plats and maps:  
    1. a plat drawn to scale with facility outlined clearly and all offset surface owners and their properties indicated;
    2. a plat with the facility outlined clearly showing the location of all pits, above ground tanks, storage vessels, etc. Also include the construction material (metal, fiberglass, concrete, etc.) of all above ground tanks and storage vessels.
    3. a complete original 7 1/2 minute USGS topographic quadrangle map with the facility outlined clearly. Delineate the location of any pipelines that underlay the facility but are not included on the topographic map.
  10. Submit an identification and description of the soil or subsoil. The information shall describe the soil by typical name, appropriate proportion of grain sizes, texture, consistency, moisture condition, and other pertinent characteristics. Identify the source of soil information. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/) can provide information on soils and subsoils.
  11. If a pit will be used in conjunction with the separation facility operation, you must file Form  (pdf). (Application for a Permit to Maintain and Use a Pit).
  12. Submit plans to control stormwater runoff and to retain incoming wastes during wet weather, including plans for the disposal of any rainwater collected within the facility (e.g., disposal in an authorized injection well). Indicate the 25-year maximum 24-hour rainfall event. The National Atmospheric and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (www.noaa.gov/) can provide information.
  13. Indicate average annual precipitation and evaporation at the proposed site. This information can be found in the publication, Climatological Data and Annual Summary, located at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Library (www.tceq.state.tx.us) or at the Texas Water Development Board (www.twdb.texas.gov).
  14. Submit plans to control access to the facility (e.g., fencing, inaccessible terrain, 24 hour attendant, etc.).
  15. Submit a list of anticipated types and volumes of wastes to be accepted.
  16. Submit plans for record keeping of incoming and outgoing waste.
  17. Submit the anticipated maximum volume of unseparated waste, separated solids, and separated fluids to be stored at the facility at any given time. Also provide the anticipated maximum duration each of the aforementioned classes of waste will be stored at the facility.
  18. Clarify if any oil will be reclaimed during the separation process. Note that the operation of a reclamation plant requires a separate permit under Rule 57.
  19. Submit plans for the prevention and control of spills at the facility.
  20. Submit plans for routine inspections, maintenance, and monitoring.
  21. Submit estimated duration of the operation. (Generally, commercial facility permits are issued for five-year terms. An expiring permit may be considered for renewal).
  22. Submit detailed plans for closing the site when operations cease, including plans for closing pits, removing dikes, contouring, etc. Provide an estimate of time required to close site.  Soil samples taken on site must be analyzed for the parameters in Table 1 below. 
  23. Provide a closure cost estimate and financial security as required by Rule 78. The following documents will assist in the preparation of the estimate and the financial security: Closure Cost Estimate Requirements, Guidance for Filing Forms CF-1 and CF-2, Forms CF-1 and CF-2.
  24. Contact the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (www.tceq.state.tx.us) to determine air permitting requirements.
  25. You must certify the application as follows:

    "I certify that I am authorized to make this application, that this application was prepared by me or under my supervision and direction, and that the data and facts stated herein are true, correct, and complete to the best of my knowledge."


Note: Upon review of the initial application, an operator may be required to provide a more detailed assessment of facility operation and/or site.


Table 1:
 Soil Sample Requirements for Closure 

PARAMETERS LIMITATIONS
pH
    EPA Method 9045C
6.0 to 10.0 standard units
Electrical Conductivity (EC)
    LA Dept. of Natural Resources Lab Procedures
    for Analysis of E&P Waste or equivalent
<  4.0 mmho/cm
Total Petroleum Hydrocarbons (TPH)
    Method TX1005
<  1 % mass or 10,000 mg/kg
Total Benzene, Toluene, Ethylbenzene, Xylenes (BTEX)
    EPA Method 8021/8260B
<  30.0 mg/kg
Total Metals
    EPA Method 6010/6020/7471A
 
        Arsenic <  10.0 mg/kg
        Barium <  10,000.0 mg/kg
        Cadmium <  10.0 mg/kg
        Chromium <  100.0 mg/kg
        Lead <  200.0 mg/kg
        Mercury <  10.0 mg/kg
        Selenium <  10.0 mg/kg
        Silver <  200.0 mg/kg


Requirements for renewal of expiring permit:

  1. Submit a plat drawn to scale with facility outlined clearly and all offset surface owners and their properties indicated.
  2. Notify surface owner of the permit application and submit a signed copy of your lease agreement. Submit a copy of the notification letter and indicate the date of notification. The complete application, including all attachments, must be provided to the surface owner as part of the notification process. Rule 8(d)(6)(c) states that a notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the complete application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission.
  3. Notify the city clerk or other appropriate city official of the permit application if the land where the facility is proposed is within corporate limits. The complete application, including all attachments, must be provided to the city clerk or other appropriate city official as part of the notification process. Rule 8(d)(6)(c) states that a notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the complete application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission.
  4. Notify offset surface owners of the permit application. Submit a copy of each notification letter sent to the offset surface owners, along with a statement indicating their names and addresses and the date that they were notified of the application. The complete application, including all attachments, must be provided to the offset surface owners as part of the notification process. Rule 8(d)(6)(c) states that a notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the complete application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission.
  5. Publish notice. Notice shall be published in accordance with Texas Natural Code Section 91.116 ( http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/) as outlined below.
    1. The notice must include:
      1. the date the application was filed;
      2. a description of the location of the site for which the application was made, including the county in which the site is located, the name of the original survey and abstract number, and the direction and distance from the nearest municipality;
      3. the name of the owner of the site;
      4. the name of the applicant;
      5. the type of fluid or waste to be disposed of at the facility;
      6. the disposal method proposed; and
      7. the procedure for protesting the application.
    2. The notice must be published:
      1. at least once each week for two consecutive weeks with the first publication occurring not earlier than the date the application is filed and not later than the 30th day after the date on which the application is filed; and
      2. in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the proposed disposal would occur.
    3. Furnish a clipping of the published notice. It is recommended that the Form for Published Notice be used. Submit a sworn affidavit from the newspaper giving the date on which the notice was published and stating that the newspaper is of general circulation in the pertinent county. It is recommended that the Form for Affidavit of Publication be used.
  6. As required in §2001.054(b) of the Texas Government Code (http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/), the permit remains in effect if the renewal request is received before the permit expiration date and the Commission has not yet acted on the application.

Last Updated: 5/18/2016 1:51:32 PM