Studies show that the majority of environmental impacts in the vicinity of oil and gas operations are a result of leaks and spills at the surface. For a number of reasons including competition for available water sources, lack of disposal wells, and concern over seismic issues associated with disposal wells; the practice of recycling oil and gas wastewater (water generated along with the oil and gas reserve) to the exploration and production process is increasing. Oil and gas wastewater recycling requires the storage of this fluid in greater volumes and for longer periods of time, and the transport of this water from the point of generation to storage facilities and further to where it will be used. In essence recycling is driving greater activity to areas already identified as weak links in the system; surface operations, thus increasing environmental risks.

Leading management practices for the design, construction, and operation of storage facilities (including surface impoundments and aboveground tanks) and pipelines will be presented. Appropriate engineering design is important but equally important is construction quality assurance to ensure facilities are constructed in compliance with design, and operation procedures to quickly identify, control, and address leaks and spills

Primary Author/Conference Presenter:
Dan Mueller
Director, Oil and Gas Exploration & Production
Environmental Defense Fund
Austin, Texas