Waste Minimization Program

Waste minimization is any activity which results in a reduction of the quantity or toxicity of an oil and gas waste that must be treated or disposed of. Waste minimization is not specifically required in RRC rules, but is a voluntary action on the operator’s part. Waste minimization can be a good business decision. Many operators have found waste minimization to reduce operating costs, improve efficiency, reduce regulatory compliance concerns, and reduce future potential liability. Also, waste minimization can improve a company’s, as well as the oil and gas industry’s public image.

The Waste Minimization Program’s purpose is to encourage and help oil and gas operators implement successful waste minimization techniques and plans.

Free Products Offered by the Waste Minimization Program

Waste Minimization in the Oil Field

This manual (PDF), developed with the assistance of the oil and gas industry, offers source reduction and recycling (i.e., waste minimization) concepts, cost effective and practical examples of source reduction and recycling opportunities in the oil field, and information on how to develop an individualized waste minimization plan. The manual also presents a discussion on how to identify hazardous and nonhazardous oil and gas wastes as defined by EPA regulations under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Operation-specific documents

In addition to the manual, we offer documents that address waste minimization for specific operations. These documents repeat information in the Waste Minimization in the Oil Field manual, but these operation-specific documents allow users to avoid information that is not relevant to their particular area. For example, a person working in a natural gas processing plant will not have to deal with information on drilling operations.

Annotated bibliography of waste minimization technology for crude oil and natural gas exploration, production, and pipeline transportation operations 

The annotated bibliography (PDF) offers numerous references to technical papers, articles and publications. Each reference addresses a technology, process, procedure or equipment modification that results in reduced waste generation or recycling. The bibliography is arranged by type of operation and specific processes within each type of operation. The "bookmarks" feature allows you to easily search the bibliography for your area of interest.

Other sources of waste minimization information

Numerous federal and state agencies, industry associations, organizations and universities offer valuable waste minimization information. A description of the information available from each link is provided in this section.