Residual Waste General Permit WMGR163; New Base General Permit
[52 Pa.B. 3632]
[Saturday, June 25, 2022]
Under the authority of the Solid Waste Management Act (35 P.S. §§ 6018.101—6018.1003) and the Municipal Waste Planning, Recycling and Waste Reduction Act (53 P.S. §§ 4000.101—4000.1904), the Department of Environmental Protection (Department) is providing notice of the issuance of General Permit No. WMGR163 on June 25, 2022. This General Permit authorizes the processing and transfer of oil and gas liquid waste at temporary facilities that operate for no more than 180 consecutive days at any one time and subsequent beneficial use of oil and gas liquid waste to develop or hydraulically fracture an oil or gas well.
The creation of this general permit is a result of legislation (HB 336) act of July 9, 2021 (P.L. 377, No. 70) (Act 70). The language in Act 70 requires the Department, by July 1, 2022, to submit to the Legislative Reference Bureau, for final publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin, a general permit under 25 Pa. Code § 287.643 (relating to registration) for the transfer, storage or processing of oil and gas liquid waste at temporary facilities which will be in operation for no more than 180 consecutive days at any one time.
The draft WMGR163 language was noticed in the Pennsylvania Bulletin for a 60-day public comment period published at 52 Pa.B. 419 (January 15, 2022). The comment period closed on March 15, 2022. The Bureau of Waste Management (BWM) received comments from Southwestern Energy, the Marcellus Shale Coalition, the Pennsylvania Independent Oil and Gas Association, Range Resources—Appalachia, LLC, the Center for Coalfield Justice, the Three Rivers Waterkeeper and the Environmental Integrity Project.
The BWM reviewed comments submitted during the 60-day public comment period to determine whether any additional revisions to WMGR163 were warranted. The terms and conditions of WMGR163 were ultimately revised as follows:
• The duration of coverage for authorizations under WMGR163 has been changed from 1 year to 2 years, during which permittees can only operate for a maximum of 1 year. A permittee's coverage will automatically expire 1 year from date they begin receiving or processing waste, or 2 years from the date of permit issuance, whichever is less.
Additionally, permittees are only authorized to operate for a maximum of 180 consecutive days at any one time during the period of coverage.
• The definition of ''operate'' was revised for clarity, to ensure that a permittee's operational period doesn't begin prior to oil and gas liquid waste being received or processed at a permitted location.
• Former Condition C.1., which limited the storage capacity of operation under WMGR163, was deleted, as it may have ultimately hindered the ability for permittees to function in the manner intended by the language in Act 70.
• Former Condition C.5. (now Condition C.4.) was revised to clarify that once a permittee has ceased receiving and processing waste, closure and post closure activities must occur.
• Former Condition C.8. (now Condition C.7.) was revised to clarify that Department-approved Radiation Protection Action Plans must be immediately accessible at the facility at any point while the facility is operating.
• Former Condition C.26. (now Condition C.25.), which requires permittees to demonstrate compliance with 25 Pa. Code, Subpart C, Article III (relating to air resources), pertaining to air emissions, was revised to allow permittees to demonstrate that they are exempt from Air Quality permitting for open-top storage tanks or any other air contamination sources in accordance with the aforementioned regulations. This condition was also revised to clarify that permittees are not authorized to store oil and gas liquid waste in impoundments.
• Condition E.2. was revised to eliminate redundancies in reporting requirements for WMGR163 permittees that process or transfer solely their own oil and gas liquid waste.
• Condition F.1. was revised to clarify that permittees seeking renewal under WMGR163 must submit a statement to the Department at least 180 days in advance of the expiration date of the base general permit certifying that the information contained in the original application has not changed since permit issuance. If original permit issuance is within 180 days of the expiration date of the base general permit, the certification statement is not necessary.
• Condition F.3. was revised to clarify that permittees may apply for coverage under WMGR163 at a site where prior WMGR163 coverage was issued, however, the subsequent coverage cannot be issued until the prior permittee has successfully completed closure and postclosure.
Persons interested in reviewing the general permit may contact Chris Solloway at firstname.lastname@example.org, (717) 787-7381, or Environmental Group Manager, Permits Section, Division of Municipal and Residual Waste, Bureau of Waste Management, P.O. Box 69170, Harrisburg, PA 17106-9170.
Persons in need of accommodations as provided for in the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 should contact Chris Solloway at (717) 787-7381 or through the Pennsylvania Hamilton Relay Service at (800) 654-5984 (TDD users) or (800) 654-5988 (voice users) to discuss how the Department may accommodate their needs.
[Pa.B. Doc. No. 22-950. Filed for public inspection June 24, 2022, 9:00 a.m.]
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