There are two kinds of pits, or impoundments as the WV DEP calls them, and they present two kinds of concerns.

The first kind of pit is the drilling pit, which has been around as long as gas or oil drilling. The drilling cuttings, the solid rock and minerals removed from the well bore, go in this pit with the water used for drilling and/or the water from underground aquifers in the path of the well bore. The cuttings can contain a variety of nasty stuff - arsenic, mercury, thallium, chromium, other heavy metals and NORMs (naturally occurring radioactive materials) – depending on where and how deep the well is drilled, but instead of being regulated, tested, and disposed of as hazardous waste, they are buried shallowly on site – only 1/5 to 3 feet deep - with no marking and no record that they are there.



There is no requirement for a fence to protect wildlife from falling in, and, until last year, there was not even a requirement for a liner. Even now, if an engineer says the soil is impervious, the liner can be waved. It’s not clear how much a liner requirement would do anyway, because pictures show liners torn by the equipment used to bury them.


Other states require much thicker liners and even double liners. A county in Colorado just issued new regulations requiring pits to be fenced and the pit contents and liner to “be removed from the property upon completion of construction and disposed of at an approved facility.”

The other kind of pit is the huge water reservoir for fracking. These pits are so big that they must be designed and approved by a certified engineer.




The people in the picture above are also in the picture below.

If not properly engineered, these pits can cause serious problems Below are pictures of a slip on the side of a large pit that was built too close to a road, so it blocked the road, and an ambulance couldn’t reach a person who had to be taken out by ATV.



If these large pits contain fracking fluids instead of just fresh water, they present additional threats to the land and water.

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