Loophole in WV Landfill Law for Drill Cuttings Raises Concern

Two months ago MDN brought you the news that a proposed bill to strengthen landfill requirements for Marcellus Shale drill cuttings (leftover rock and dirt from drilling) in West Virginia had passed in a special session of the legislature (see WV Drill Cuttings in Landfill Bill Passes in Record Time). The new bill, proposed by the WV Dept. of Environmental Protection provides for a special cell where the waste is stored, leachate from that cell monitored, and special radiation detectors installed. All great protections.

The new bill also disallows the special cell for drill cuttings to be built in landfills that sit over top a “karst” topography (where there are a lot of underground caves, sinkholes, cracks and fast-moving underground streams). However, there is one loophole in the new law that recently came to light: If landfills above a karst topography area are happy with maintaining their current lower cap of 9,999 tons per day of solid waste, they can accept drill cuttings in the regular part of the landfill. One WV lawmaker is trying to get that changed, fearing the landfill in his karst district may decide to accept drill cuttings…

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