DEP Addresses Spills and Releases at Oil & Gas Well Sites or Access Roads

On September 21, 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (“DEP”) issued a new final technical guidance document entitled “Addressing Spills and Releases at Oil and Gas Well Sites or Access Roads,” (Doc. No. 800-5000-001), more commonly referred to as the “Spill Policy”.  The Spill Policy was published in the September 21, 2013 issue of the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

This technical guidance outlines the critically important response that should be taken in the event of a spill at an oil and gas well site or access road, and ensures consistency among DEP’s regional offices in handling such responses.  Spills and releases at locations other than oil and gas well sites or access roads are not addressed under this policy.

The Spill Policy discusses preparation and implementation of a control and disposal plan, which is required by regulation before an operator generates waste.  Additionally, the Spill Policy also discusses what spills should be reported to the DEP and when and how to notify the DEP.  Finally, this new technical guidance addresses remediation of a spill or release at an oil and gas well site, specifically for small spills, parties utilizing Act 2, procedures for alternative remediation, and restoration and revegetation guidance.

Operators should note that policies and procedures in the Spill Policy are non-binding and merely establish a framework within which DEP will exercise administrative discretion in the future.

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