Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 150. Virginia Gas and Oil Regulation

4VAC25-150-340. Drilling fluids.

A. Operations plan requirements. Applicants for a permit shall provide, prior to commencing drilling, documentation that the water meets the requirements of subsection B of this section, and a general description of the additives and muds to be used in all stages of drilling. Providing that the requirement in subsection C of this section is met, variations necessary because of field conditions may be made with prior approval of the director and shall be documented in the driller's log.

B. Water quality in drilling.

1. Before the water-protection string is set, permittees shall use one of the following sources of water in drilling:

a. Water that is from a water well or spring located on the drilling site; or

b. Conduct an analysis of groundwater within a one-quarter-mile radius of the drilling location, and use:

(1) Water which is of equal or better quality than the groundwater; or

(2) Water which can be treated to be of equal or better quality than the groundwater. A treatment plan must be included with the application if water is to be treated.

(3) If, after a diligent search, a groundwater source (such as a well or spring) cannot be found within a one-quarter-mile radius of the drilling location, the applicant may use water meeting the parameters listed in the Department of Environmental Quality's "Ground water criteria," 9VAC25-280-70. The analysis shall include, but is not limited to, the following items:

(a) Chlorides;

(b) Total dissolved solids;

(c) Hardness;

(d) Iron;

(e) Manganese;

(f) PH;

(g) Sodium; and

(h) Sulfate.

(4) Drilling water analysis shall be taken within a one-year period preceding the drilling application.

2. After the water-protection string is set, permittees may use waters that do not meet the standards of subdivision B 1 of this section.

C. Drilling muds. No permittee may use an oil-based drilling fluid or other fluid which has the potential to cause acute or chronic adverse health effects on living organisms unless a variance has been approved by the director. Permittees must explain the need to use such materials and provide the material data safety sheets. In reviewing the request for the variance, the director shall consider the concentration of the material, the measures to be taken to control the risks, and the need to use the material. Permittees shall also identify what actions will be taken to ensure use of the additives will not cause a lessening of groundwater quality.

Statutory Authority

§§ 45.1-161.3, 45.1-361.4, and 45.1-361.27 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-05-22.1 § 1.34, eff. September 25, 1991; amended, Virginia Register Volume 15, Issue 2, eff. November 11, 1998; Volume 29, Issue 3, eff. November 8, 2012; Volume 30, Issue 1, eff. October 10, 2013; Volume 33, Issue 7, eff. December 28, 2016.

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