Analysis of Soil Remediation Requirements at Abandoned Oil-Field Waste Disposal Sites
in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas
Alan R. Dutton, principal investigator; Jerry Mullican, H. Seay Nance, and Rebecca C. Smyth

Study area
Click on Map for more information
 
Backhoe excavation
of drilling fluid waste.
 
Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, Federal Energy Technology Center, Contract No. DE-AC26-99BC15225; Co-sponsored by the American Petroleum Institute, Ground Water Protection Council
 
Publications
Census and Statistical Characterization of Soil and Water Quality at Abandoned and Other
Centralized and Commercial Drilling-Fluid Disposal Sites in Louisiana,
New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, Final Technical Report, 2003. (PDF)
 
E & P Drilling Fluid Disposal Facilities in Texas and Louisiana: Analogs for Environmental Assessments of Abandoned Sites. (PDF)
 
History, Regulation, and Closure of Abandoned Centralized and Commercial Drilling-Fluid Disposal Sites in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas, 2000. (PDF)
 
 
 
 
Objectives
Provide information to help make assessment and remediation of abandoned centralized and commercial drilling-fluid disposal sites more cost effective.
Develop and evaluate a multistate information data base of technical information.
Conduct technology transfer workshops to document how this data base can be used for improving regulation, assessment, and remediation.
   
Scope of Work
How many such abandoned centralized and commercial disposal sites are there in Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas?
Is this overall a small, medium, or large issue?
What range of contaminants (metals, salt, and hydrocarbons) are found in the waste?
How mobile are these contaminants?
How typical are excursions of contaminants away from the waste package?
What are the most cost-effective approaches for investigating such sites?
What are the most cost-effective approaches for
site remediation?
   
Background
Permitted commercial disposal facilities handling spent drilling fluid now operate under stringent State control and inspection. Abandoned centralized and commercial drilling-fluid disposal sites remain a special issue distinct from permitted disposal sites:
They did not develop under the same controls and regulations that now govern commercial disposal of oil-field waste.
Site suitability generally was not always sufficiently evaluated.
Drilling fluids were not segregated from other oil-field waste.
Limited records were kept on type, volume, and characteristics of waste.
Permit violations may be one reason some sites were abandoned.
Possible contaminants present include crude oil, disposal metals, naturally occurring radioactive materials (NORM), and salt water.
Potential for soil contamination is expected to be greater than that at permitted centralized and commercial sites.
   
Deliverables
Semiannual draft and final technical progress reports.
Final Stage I technical reports.
Technology transfer.
Website with project summary and preliminary findings.
Technical papers and presentations at technical meetings.
Bureau series publications.
Ground Water Protection Council workshops.
Newsletters (for example, PTTC, DOE’s Eye on Environment).