There's a new industrial landfill in Wyoming, specifically designed to hold solid waste from the oil and gas industry. There is currently one landfill cell, but Grasslands Environmental managers say the site will expand over the years as more oil companies use it to dispose solid waste. News 13 toured the landfill and explains how it could impact the environment.
For the first time, oil and gas workers now have a single place to dump solid waste from drill pads and spills. The sites general manager says this will help the environment because instead of making waste pits on site, which is legal, they can dump in one single landfill.
Jerry Hamel, General Manager of Grasslands Environmental, where the site is located said “What we’re doing is we're reducing that liability, we're reducing that risk so that we have a controlled area. So we can control of these materials properly and monitor them for decades to come.”
The process for bringing materials to be landfilled starts before the trucks even arrive. Hamel has to approve of all the materials, once he does the trucks come down the ramp onto a pad and are finally dumped in. The first load to be dumped was oil covered rock.
Ron Auflick, Chief Roughneck at Wold Energy Partners said “Any waste we generate like that we have to make sure there's no damage to the environment. We have to handle well. And companies that have invested a lot to do this in the right way is key to the future of the business.”
The site also has a built in system to collect water that gradually filters through the dumped materials. That water is called leachate.
Hamel described the leachate collection system “What this is, is this is the fabricate that goes over the leachate collection system. So water can migrate through this fabric into the leachate collection piping and then the leachate will migrate to this sump.”
Once the leachate is collected in the sump it goes up and over the cell wall and into one of two 31 thousand gallon tanks. Hamel says the system is nearly spill proof because even if a pipe breaks it's still within the liner.
"Can this landfill fail?" Bogan asked.
Hamel replied "It’s an engineered item. As with any engineered item, anything can happen."
"What would you say the chances are?" followed Bogan.
"Extremely minimal," Hamel concluded.
The landfill has been open for less than a week, but Hamel believes it will receive daily deliveries from here on out.