DEP Completes Study of Impact of Drill Waste From Natural Gas Well Sites Disposed of in Landfills


CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection has completed a legislatively mandated study of the impact from disposal of drill cuttings and drilling waste from natural gas well sites in landfills.

The agency was directed to focus on five key areas: 1.) Hazardous characteristics of leachate collected from solid waste facilities (landfills) receiving drill cuttings and drilling waste from natural gas well sites, 2.) Potential negative impacts on the surface water or groundwater resources of West Virginia associated with the collection, treatment, and disposal of leachate from those landfills, 3.) Technical and economic feasibility and benefits of establishing additional and/or separate disposal locations which are funded, constructed, owned and/or operated by the oil and gas industry, 4.) Viable alternatives for the handling, treatment and disposal of drill cuttings, and 5.) The feasibility of developing an alternative means of handling the disposal of drill cutting waste.

The research “found little concern” regarding leachate associated with “drill cuttings that were placed in approved and permitted landfills, once that leachate was processed through a correctly operated treatment facility.”

The report can be read here.

Additional statistical and analytical data can be downloaded here: Full statistical dataset, Analytical results of drill cuttings, and Analytical results of landfill leachate.

The Marshall University Center for Environmental, Geotechnical, and Applied Sciences (CEGAS), the Glenville State University Department of Land Resources, Marshall University’s College of Information Technology and Engineering, the Marshall University Center for Business and Economic Research, and the West Virginia Department of Transportation’s Division of Highways contributed to the report.

The report, which was submitted yesterday to the West Virginia Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Water Resources and the Legislature's Joint Committee on Government and Finance, was required by House Bill 107, which was passed by the Legislature in 2014.

For more DEP news and information, go to Also, connect with the agency on all social media platforms. Follow @DEPWV on Twitter and find us on YouTube by searching “Environment Matters.” For specific information about the Adopt-A-Highway, West Virginia Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), West Virginia Watershed Improvement Branch, Youth Environmental Program and Human Resources initiatives, connect on Facebook.


Jake Glance
(304) 926-0499 ext. 1335