DEP Announcements

West Virginia Environmental Council Action Alert
26 March 2012

DEP Accepting Comments on Centralized Pit Construction Standards

The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas is taking comments on its design and construction standards for centralized pits used to store wastewater associated with horizontal drilling. The standards provide guidelines for construction, liner requirements, water quality monitoring, and engineer certifications.

The document can be found at:

Comments may be submitted in writing by email to or through the U.S. Postal Service to:
John Kearney
Office of Oil and Gas
601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV 25304.

Comments will be accepted until April 12, 2012 at 5 p.m.

DEP Accepting Comments on Oil and Gas Stormwater General Permit

The State of West Virginia, Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water and Waste Management is proposing to issue a State General Water Pollution Control Permit to regulate the discharge of stormwater runoff associated with oil and gas related construction activities.  The General Permit will authorize discharges composed entirely of stormwater associated with oil and gas field activities or operations associated with exploration, production, processing or treatment operations or transmission facilities, disturbing one acre or greater of land area, to the waters of the State.  It is proposed that this General Permit be issued for a four (4) year term.

The Director of the Division of Water and Waste Management retains authority to require any owner/operator to apply for and obtain an alternative Permit.  This authority will be exercised when the Director determines that an alternative permit will better protect the receiving water.

The Draft Permit may be inspected by appointment between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Water and Waste Management, Public Information Office, 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV  25304.  Copies of the documents may be obtained from the Division at a nominal cost.

A public hearing has been scheduled to take additional comments on the Draft Permit.  The hearing has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on April 9, 2012, at the Coopers Rock Training Room, WV DEP Headquarters, 601 57th Street SE, Charleston, WV  25304.  Any person may submit oral or written statements concerning the draft permit; however, reasonable limits may be set upon the time allowed for oral statements.

Any interested persons may submit written comments on the Draft Permit.  The public comment period begins March 8, 2012 and ends April 19, 2012.  Comments should be addressed to:

Director, Division of Water and Waste Management
Department of Environmental Protection
601 57th Street, SE
Charleston, WV  25304
Attention:  Tonya Ombler
E mail:

All comments received within this period will be considered prior to acting on the Draft Permit.  Correspondence should include the name, address, and telephone number of the writer; and a concise statement of the nature of the issues being raised.

Requests for additional information should be directed to Tonya Ombler at (304) 926-0499, extension 1132.

DEP Office of Oil & Gas Launches Horizontal Drilling Page on Website

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Office of Oil and Gas has launched a webpage that contains information specifically related to horizontal drilling as defined by the Horizontal Drilling Act that was passed by the state Legislature in December.

As part of the Act, the Legislature required the DEP to create the page so citizens could obtain information about the location of proposed horizontal wells and give them the opportunity to comment on those permit applications.

Currently, the page offers links to items that will be further developed as permit applications are received by the agency. Links to pages that allow citizens to submit or review comments about specific permit applications, as well as a link to a tool that helps them find the location of a proposed well, are included.

“The page will continue to grow and change as more permit applications are submitted to the agency,” said James Martin, Chief of the Office of Oil and Gas. “Soon, after we populate the site with applications that have been received, people will be able to see a list with information such as the applicant, where the well is located, the formation it targets, whether the well has been completed and the date the permit was issued.”

Under the new legislation, one of the first steps operators have to take is placing a Class II Legal notice in local newspapers at least 10 days prior to submitting an application.

“As an added public notice option, people can go to this page and sign up for an email notification whenever a permit is received or issued by the Office of Oil and Gas,” Martin said.

The site can be found at: