Ohio Again Leads in Regulating Oil, Gas

May 14, 2022

Steubenville Herald-Star. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources recently adopted revised rules governing Class II disposal wells as well as oil and gas waste facilities. The revised regulations build upon Ohio’s nationally lauded regulatory program but are modernized to reflect the latest industry standards. For this latest round of regulatory updates, the ODNR brought several stakeholders to the table — soliciting feedback from experts, industry, communities and Ohio citizens to ensure that the final rules package supports the continued safe, effective and responsible disposal of wastes associated with natural gas and oil production in the state.

There were many enhancements made to strengthen protections of Ohio communities and the environment. Among these changes are increased insurance and bonding requirements for those permitted to operate waste facilities in Ohio. Under the new rules, permittees are required to purchase and maintain liability insurance of at least $2 million and file a financial assurance plan with ODNR to include additional surety bond or cash assurance. These financial requirements are designed to ensure that in the unlikely event of an operational accident, the financial resources to remediate the problem are available.

ODNR has increased baseline testing of all water wells within 1,500 feet of proposed Class II disposal wells and surface facilities prior to construction. Post construction, ODNR has included an inspection process to ensure ongoing safety of the operations. Permittees also are required to complete regular inspections of facilities and submit reports to ODNR, in addition to ODNR’s own regular inspections of these facilities. This two-step inspection process will ensure Class II disposal wells and surface facility issues are identified quickly and remedied.

In addition, ODNR has established an extensive public notice system for proposed Class II disposal wells and surface facilities. All new permit applications will be published for public review. Permittees also are required to notify all property owners within 1,500 feet of the proposed well through certified mail or hand delivery of a notice of application. Doing so will ensure nearby property owners are aware of proposed wells and have an opportunity to express any concerns they may have prior to operations beginning.

To be clear, the above is not a full list of the rules and regulations governing injection wells and waste facilities in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources and United States Environmental Protection Agency maintain and enforce wide ranging regulations to ensure the safe operation of these wells and facilities.

Thanks to the hard work and dedication of ODNR staff, Ohio is positioned to continue to be a national leader in the safe and effective regulation of the natural gas and oil industry.

David Hill
Underground Injection Control
Committee Chair,
Ohio Oil and Gas Association

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