CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Permitted landfills would be allowed to accept more cuttings and waste from natural gas drilling sites with a bill that’s now pending in the House Judiciary Committee.

A public hearing on HB 4411, which the House Energy Committee approved last week, was held Monday night in the state House of Delegates chamber at the State Capitol.

Delegate Kevin Craig (D-Cabell, 16) said officials with the state Department of Environmental Protection support the bill as an alternative to disposal at drilling sites.  “They feel like the safest place is a landfill with a separate holding cell for these cuttings,” said Craig.

The bill he’s sponsoring would let the state Department of Environmental Protection authorize landfills to expand capacity by constructing and operating separate cells exclusively for the waste.

According to the DEP, existing regulations would require those landfills to be double-lined and equipped with leak detection systems, as well as groundwater monitoring wells.

“The cuttings won’t be mixed in with other items that go into the landfill so it’s really the most responsible way to handle this,” explained Craig.

As for the composition of the waste, “If you picture cutting a hole down, anywhere from 3,000 to 8,000 feet, into the ground, you’re hauling out rock, all the material that makes up the strata down to the shale plays that they get into,” he said.

It was not immediately clear when the House Judiciary Committee would address the bill.

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  • David Kennedy

    There's BIG MONEY in that drilling waste...that's what!
    The answer to our garbage problem is to completely recycle like other countries do...and incinerate the remainder with plasma heat technology.
    We are poisoning our land and the water table with these land fills, and at best they are only a temporary solution.

    • Brian

      100% recycling requires the citizenry to actually sort their waste materials - it's not happening now nor do I hold my breath for the future, considering there are over 10,000 illegal garbage dumps in WV. There's promise in waste sorting technology though. Waste-to-energy? I support the idea but in WV the only thing you can burn in a power plant is coal because of the coal lobby. New England burns some of their waste at a high cost due to the EPA required scrubbers. Drill shavings into WV landfills represents just the latest challenge of our waste stream and disposal. Article says the shavings will be in a separate landfill cell which, in theory, should allow for separate billing just as what is happening now - household waste vs. construction demo waste vs. hazardous waste - each with different disposal rates.

  • mook

    what happen's when garbage and cuttings compete for landfill space? OOP"S landfill is full!!! Next landfill 200 miles away. Holy s--- my gabage bill went 300 per cent!!!

  • Aaron

    Part of the reason to place this material is to determine what is in it and then treat it. Most require very little treatment and is an excellant aggregate for road bed.

  • WV Guru

    Has anyone determined that dirt at 6000 feet is contaminated more than that at 10 feet? Where and what is the hazard? I have not read of any prior concern but my reading is somewhat limited and it wasn't mentioned in this article.

    • Jason412

      On Talkline yesterday they were discussing how there are naturally occurring radioactive materials at 6,000 ft.

      • Hillbilly

        Yes but not everywhere, and its in such low concentrations to be barely detectable. If it was that potent, we would have been drilling a long time ago just get the cuttings, not the gas. Horizontal drilling has bee around since the 50's.

  • Brian

    Not a bad idea but let's not forget that LCAP within DEP has had to bail out poorly run landfills owned by government and business alike. Will this expansion pave the way for defaults by the industry? The precedent has already been set. Bottom line at least the material won't be scattered all over the state like the drill operations are. Something harmful to the environment will happen. Better a few places rather than many .