Oil and gas exploration and production waste disposal facilities in Utah are required by state rule R649-9-8.5.1 Bonding of Disposal Facilities to post full cost bonds for their operations by July 1, 2018. Operators must submit a completed application and estimated bond by July 1, subject to review by Division staff.
This rule was modified and approved by the Utah Board of Oil, Gas and Mining in 2013 requiring an independent, third party review of reclamation and closure cost estimates to ensure coverage. Adequate bonding protects the Division of Oil, Gas and Mining and the state of Utah against expensive reclamation costs requiring state funds. Requiring full cost bonds ensures each step of remediation is covered including waste and equipment management, re-contouring sites, and reseeding.
The majority of exploration and production waste is handled through use of three types of waste disposal facilities permitted in the state: injection wells, evaporative ponds, and land farms. Injection wells take produced water and inject it deep into underground rock formations. Evaporative ponds are filled with produced water and then use evaporation to vaporize the water. Land farms use microorganisms in the soil to naturally biodegrade hydrocarbon contaminated soils.
Currently there are 30 permitted facilities in Utah- one in Sevier, two in San Juan, two in Grand, seven in Duchesne and 18 in Uintah counties.
Oil and gas program staff has worked to notify and remind operators of the upcoming deadline to ensure compliance by July 1 through letters and information on the Division website. Staff will follow-up with non-responsive operators in May to make certain everyone has been notified. Operators who do not post a full cost bond will have their permits revoked until the bond requirements are met.
For more information on the five-year permit renewal process, visit https://oilgas.ogm.utah.gov/oilgasweb/publications/publications-main.xhtml