Surface Waste Management Manual

Application Information for Landfarm and Landtreatment Permits

Facilities that use land-spreading to treat and dispose of oil and gas waste are considered a “Landfarm” if the only waste to be landfarmed is water-based drilling fluid & associated cuttings. Facilities that land-spread other oil and gas wastes including oil-based drilling fluids and cuttings are considered “Landtreatment” facilities. The application below is used to apply for either a Landfarm or Landtreatment permit.

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

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

The specific site for land-spreading should have natural features (such as isolation from or considerable depths to ground water, protection against flooding, presence of soils with a low permeability, and topography conducive to protection against erosion) that prevent or minimize the release of pollutants to off-site waters, lands, and air.

The following actions must be completed, and the information must be submitted in the order requested before a landfarming or landtreatment application can be considered.

  1. Operator name, address, phone number, and contact person. 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 the surface owner(s) of the permit application and Notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the 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. Submit a copy of the notification letter and indicate the date of notification. Refer to the notice requirements provided at the bottom of this page. 
  3. * If the proposed site is within corporate limits, notify the city clerk or other appropriate city official. Submit a copy of this notification letter and indicate the date of notification. Refer to the notice requirements provided at the bottom of this page. 
  4. Submit a signed copy of the lease agreement that is between the applicant and the surface owner.  
  5. A description of the proposed land-spreading site and surrounding area by the following:
    • landowner
    • tract size in square feet or acres
    • survey name and abstract number
    • site coordinates in degrees, minutes, and seconds of longitude and latitude
    • a general description of the contour of the land-spreading site, including any water courses or drainage ways
    • whether or not the site is located in a flood prone area. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (http://www.fema.gov/) can provide information on floodplains. Sites located in the 100-year floodplain will not be approved.
    • whether or not the site is located in a wetland. If yes, submit a copy of your Army Corps of Engineer (http://www.usace.army.mil/) Wetlands Permit or Permit Application.
    • depth to shallowest fresh water (include source of this information) and distance to and depth of nearest actively producing domestic water well within one mile
    • direction of groundwater flow - indicate how this was determined
    • distance to any residences, schools, churches, or hospitals within 500 feet of the proposed site
  6. Attach 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://soils.usda.gov) can provide information on soils and subsoils.
  7. 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 or at the Texas Water Development Board (http://www.twdb.texas.gov/surfacewater/conditions/evaporation/index.asp).
  8. Plans to control stormwater runoff and to retain incoming wastes during wet weather. Indicate the 25-year maximum 24-hour rainfall event. Include construction details for any berms or dikes, such as dimensions and location. Also, include plans for disposing of any rainwater collected within the facility and/or land-spreading area (e.g., irrigation for cell(s), disposal in an authorized injection well). The National Atmospheric and Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration can provide information.
  9. Thickness of tillable soil.
  10. Submit the following plats and maps:
    • a plat drawn to scale with the proposed land-spreading area outlined clearly, and all offset surface owners and their properties indicated
    • a copy of a county highway map showing the location of the proposed site
    • a 7 1/2 minute topographic map with the land-spreading area outlined clearly. Delineate the locations of any pipelines that underlay the facility but are not included on the topographic map
  11. Submit the following drawings (indicate scale):
    • two perpendicular, sectional views of any cells to be constructed, showing the bottom, sides, and dikes, with dimensions indicated (provision should be made to maintain a freeboard in all cells)
    • a top view of any cells to be constructed showing dimensions and dike widths - dikes should be constructed to a height of at least two feet, and all dikes should have a minimum slope on each side of three to one (horizontal to vertical)
    • a plan view of the site showing the locations of cells, dikes, access roads, etc.
  12. Submit the following information if liners are to be used:
    • type of liner (e.g., polyvinyl chloride, chlorosulfonated polyethylene-reinforced, high density polyethylene, recompacted clay)
    • thickness of liner. (Generally, man-made liners must have a thickness of at least 30 mils and recompacted clay liners must have a thickness of at least 3 feet)
    • installation procedures. For recompacted clay liners, indicate the degree of compaction and hydraulic conductivity to be attained and procedures used to protect liner, such as soil cover.
      All geotechnical testing performed utilizing tests standardized by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) must be certified by a Texas registered professional engineer.
  13. Plans to control access to the facility (e.g., fencing, inaccessible terrain, 24-hour attendant, etc.)
  14. Indicate if wastes will be accepted from sources other than your own. (If yes, see below for additional requirements for commercial facilities.)
  15. List of anticipated types and volumes of wastes to be land-spread. Please specify the types of waste (e.g., RCRA exempt), crude oil contaminated soil or saltwater contaminated soil from production operations, production tank bottoms, accumulated solids from separators and treating vessels, pit bottoms, oil base drilling fluid and cuttings, etc.; RCRA non-exempt crude oil contaminated soil from transportation related activities, lube oil contaminated soil, etc.
  16. See Chapter 4, Subchapter F for standards regarding surface disposal of oil and gas naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) waste.
  17. Anticipated origin of wastes. Include lease or facility name, lease number(s), well number(s) and API number(s), and county.
  18. Additional testing requirements for Landfarm applications
    • The estimated chloride concentration of the incoming waste. The applicant will be required to test incoming waste should a permit be issued.
  19. If the proposal is for a noncommercial on-site bioremediation of RCRA exempt crude contaminated soil then analyses for electrical conductivity (EC), soluble salts and total petroleum hydrocarbons (TPH) is required. Indicate the laboratory method used to determine TPH and provide a copy of the method.
  20. If hydrocarbon condensate contaminated soils are an accepted waste stream, then analysis for toxicity characteristic leaching procedure (TCLP) for benzene is required.
  21. If RCRA non-exempt contaminated soils are an accepted waste stream, then analyses for RCRA metals (Total and TCLP) and benzene (TCLP) is required. The required RCRA metals are arsenic, barium, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium and silver.
  22. If waste contaminated with lube oil from a compressor station or gas plant is an accepted waste stream, then analyses for PCB’s or a statement indicating that it is known through process knowledge that PCB’s are not present is required.
  23. Additional analyses may be required. 
  24. The waste application method and loading rate:
    • if the waste will be mixed into the soil, indicate the procedure to be used
    • maximum thickness of waste to be applied in a single application as well as the total thickness to be applied over the life of the operation
    • frequency of tilling
    • maximum depth to which waste will be tilled
  25. Provide information on any soil amendments or microbes you anticipate using. Include Safety Data Sheets (SDS).
  26. Target remediation levels for waste constituents. Although applications are considered on a case-by-case basis, remediation levels should generally not exceed the standard Soil Sampling Closure Parameters for Landfarm, Landtreatment, and Land Application Permits (Table 2). Lower levels or analyses for additional parameters may be required.
  27. Submit a plan for the installation of groundwater monitor wells. Should a permit be issued, the installation of monitor wells will be a permit condition unless on-site borings taken to 100 feet demonstrate no shallow groundwater underlies the proposed location. Borings should be left open for a minimum of 24 hours to determine the presence of groundwater. A sufficient number of borings must be drilled at the location to accurately characterize the subsurface and determine the lateral extent and direction of flow of any shallow groundwater.
    • The wells must be completed in accordance with 16 TAC Part 4, Chapter 76 (http://www.sos.state.tx.us/tac/) Water Well Drillers and Water Well Pump Installers.
    • The wells must be completed in the shallowest groundwater zone and the completion must isolate that zone from any deeper groundwater zone.
    • The screened interval of the wells must be designed to intercept the top of the groundwater.
    • Provision must be made to protect the well heads from damage by vehicles and heavy equipment.
    • The following information must be submitted after the wells are completed:
      • a soil boring log for each well, with the soils described using the Unified Soil Classification System (equivalent to ASTM D 2487 and 2488). The log must also include the method of drilling, total depth, and the top of the first encountered water or saturated soils.
      • a well installation diagram for each well.
      • a survey elevation for each well head reference point.
      • a potentiometric map showing static water levels and the calculated direction of groundwater flow.
  28. Estimated duration of land-spreading operation. (Generally, private facility permits are issued for one- to two-year terms and commercial facility permits are issued for five-year terms. An expiring permit may be considered for renewal. See below for requirements for renewal of expiring permits.)
  29. Detailed plans for closing the site when land-spreading operations cease, include plans for closing any boreholes used for vadose zone or groundwater monitoring, removing dikes, contouring, and reseeding. Also include plans for sampling and analyses of areas other than remediated waste in treatment cells (e.g., temporary holding cells, treatment cells from which the waste has been removed, leachate collection sumps, etc.) Provide an estimate for the amount of time required to close the site.
  30. The operator must sign, date, and submit the following certification statement:
    "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."
  31. If your plans include on-site or off-site reuse of the bioremediated material, you must obtain a permit from the Commission. Each request will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
  32. If a pit will be used in conjunction with the land-spreading operation, you must file Form H-11 (pdf) (Application for a Permit to Maintain and Use a Pit).

Additional requirements for centralized and commercial facilities:

  1. * Notify offset surface owners of the application. Notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the 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. 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 this application. Refer to the notice requirements provided at the bottom of this page. 
  2. Submit plans for testing incoming wastes and for record keeping. The following waste analyses should be considered:
    • pH
    • Hydrogen Sulfide
    • Ignitability
    • EC
    • TPH
    • Metals (total and TCLP)
    • Total organic halides
    • Benzene
    • Additional analyses may be required.
  3. Submit plans for the prevention and control of spills at the facility.
  4. Submit plans for routine inspection, maintenance, and monitoring.
  5. Submit plans for post-closure monitoring.
  6. Provide 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 RequirementsGuidance for Filing Forms CF-1 and CF-2, Forms CF-1 (pdf) and CF-2 (pdf).
  7. Contact the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (http://www.tceq.state.tx.us) to determine air permitting requirements.

Additional Published Notice required for commercial facilities:

Notice shall be published in accordance with HB 480 as outlined below:
  1. The notice must include:
    • the date the application was filed; 
    • 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;
    • the name of the owner of the site;
    • the name of the applicant;
    • the type of fluid or waste to be disposed of at the facility;
    • the disposal method proposed; and
    • the procedure for protesting the application.
  2. The notice must be published:
    • 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
    • in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the proposed disposal would occur.
  3. You must furnish a complete tear sheet of the published notice. It is recommended that the form for published notice (pdf) be used. You must also 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 (pdf) be used.



Requirements for renewal of expiring permits:

  1. A request for renewal should be submitted at least 60 days prior to the expiration date of the permit.
  2. The renewal application should include any information that may have been updated since the previous application or renewal. Additional information may be requested by Technical Permitting, if deemed necessary.
  3. Submit a plat drawn to scale with the land-spreading area outlined clearly, and all current offset surface owners and their properties indicated.
  4. Submit a signed copy of the lease agreement.
  5. * Notify surface owner of the permit application. Submit a copy of the notification letter and indicate the date of notification. Refer to the notice requirements provided at the bottom of this page. 
  6. * If the site is within corporate limits notify the city clerk or other appropriate city official. Submit a copy of this notification letter and indicate the date of notification. Refer to the notice requirements provided at the bottom of this page. 
  7. * Notify offset surface owners if the permit application is for a centralized or commercial operation. 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 this application. Refer to the notice requirements provided at the bottom of this page. 
  8. Publish notice if the permit application is for a commercial operation. Published notice must meet all requirements as outlined above but should clarify that the notice is for renewal of an existing facility.


Requirements for amending permits:

  1. *Notification as outlined above may be required for permit amendment applications where the amendment would significantly alter the permitted operation.
  2. An updated Closure Cost Estimate will be required if the proposed changes alter the amount for the financial security.



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.” Protests must be sent to: Technical Permitting Section, Oil and Gas Division, Railroad Commission of Texas, P.O. Box 12967, Austin, Texas 78711 (Telephone 512-463-3840).

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. 

For additional information please call (512) 463-3840.

Last Updated: 7/26/2019 11:22:59 AM