In an April 1, 2014 memorandum, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) summarized state regulatory programs concerning the management of solid waste from oil and natural gas exploration, development and production (E&P) operations.

In reviewing each state’s regulations, the EPA focused on surface storage and disposal facilities managing produced waters, drilling muds, drilling cuttings, hydraulic fracturing return fluids, and various other waste liquids and materials intrinsically related to oil and gas E&P.

The EPA found that the state regulations were primarily concerned with the “technical requirements associated with the design, construction, operation, maintenance, closure, and reclamation of surface pits, ponds, lagoons or tanks, as well as financial assurance requirements associated with such facilities.”

Among the common parameters are state requirements for liners in pits and impoundments, secondary containment requirements for tanks, set-back requirements, and various inspection requirements. However, the EPA did find gaps in regulations relating to groundwater monitoring, leachate collection, air monitoring, and waste characterization.

Overall, with the review, the EPA had developed an understanding of the wide-range of state regulatory programs currently in place in the twenty-six (26) oil and gas producing states covered in the summary.

This post was written by Barclay Nicholson ( or 713.651.3662) from Norton Rose Fulbright’s Energy Practice Group.