Some of that "harmless" drilling pit waste

In Texas, linking and fencing is not required for drilling waste pits.

Click on this picture so you can get a good look at that gunk.

Aruba Petroleum waste pit

New Mexico passed new pit rules recently because they ended up with quite a bit of contaminated water from their formerly lax pit rules. Industry lobbyists are trying to blame everything and anything that’s wrong on New Mexico’s new pit rules.

From the ABQ Journal, here’s the spin:

Industry lobbyists and some politicians blame the Pit Rule, adopted by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission in 2008, for the state’s current budget crisis and the drop in state revenues and claim that the Pit Rule is driving the oil and gas industry out of the state. This is not true and only represents half the story. Relevant facts are conveniently omitted, like the global crash in oil and gas prices and that neighboring states are also seeing reduced oil and gas drilling activity. There have been no attempts by these lobbyists and politicians to enlighten the public as to what the Pit Rule regulates and protects.

And, here’s the truth:

The Pit Rule places the responsibility on oil and gas operators to clean up contamination rather than placing the liability on the state and taxpayers. It sets a tough but fair standard of environmental protection from any future ground water contamination by specifying minimum requirements for pit liners and establishing pit closure procedures. The adoption of the rule was an 18-month process, created with the input of industry, the environmental community and many others in a very public process, which included outreach, a task force, and 19 days of hearings.

Texas needs some strong pit rules too.

About Sharon Wilson

Sharon Wilson is considered a leading citizen expert on the impacts of shale oil and gas extraction. She is the go-to person whether it’s top EPA officials from D.C., national and international news networks, or residents facing the shock of eminent domain and the devastating environmental effects of natural gas development in their backyards.


  1. Anonymous says

    So is this what they "landfarm" to help the grass grow? Is this what they roll up into a taco when they're done and bury on the surface owner's property and pray (if they happen to care)that it doesn't contaminate the water and soil?

    It is apparently OK in some states, like Texas, to bury this on a surface owner's property within 200 feet of a home and water well, but other state landfills won't accept them because they are too toxic.

    God Bless Texas!

  2. Martha Speaks says

    We've caught them on video pumping the contents of sludge pits into public waterways. The video is inadmissible in court. Too prejudicial to the oil company.

  3. Anonymous says

    "–inadmissible in court." WAJ. the Texas Joketice system at work. Have seen it in action many times.


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