Drilling for oil and gas often involves toxic materials, and BLM is required to list hazardous wastes for proposed projects in its NEPA documents. Drilling mud, for example, is a mixture of water, bentonite, polymers, caustic soda, barite, and, in some cases, oil. It is usually stored either in earthen pits on the location, or in tanks. This mud, together with any wastewater that is produced from the well, must be disposed of properly. Injection wells are frequently used to dispose of these wastes by pumping them into another underground formation, but wastewater may also be placed in neighboring bodies of water. According to the Forest Service, this is an acceptable method of oil waste treatment. A permit from the state’s water quality agency should be required, however.
Specific Issues to Raise: