Oilfield Waste Exemption
Wastes from the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas are exempt from Federal hazardous waste regulations (RCRA Subtitle C). These wastes include oil production brine, drilling muds, drilling fluids and produced water. This exemption does not mean these wastes could not present a hazard to human health and the environment. Wastes from the exploration and production of crude oil have been shown to contain an array of hazardous substances including benzene (a known carcinogen), barium and lead. This is of particular importance, because Louisiana has a long history of exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas with many thousands of drilling sites (old and new) across the state. Wastes associated with these activities fall under this exemption and in many instances are stored and processed in facilities within Louisiana. Proper management of these wastes, regardless of their Federal exemption, is necessary to safeguard public health and protect the environment.
The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide To Environmental Engagement