Proper management of wastes begins with pollution prevention. Pollution prevention refers to the elimination, change or reduction of operating practices which result in discharges to land, air or water. This principle should be incorporated into the design and management of E&P facilities and the planning of associated activities. If elimination of a waste is not possible, then minimizing the amount of waste generated should be investigated.
Responsible drilling waste management may be accomplished through hierarchical application of the practices of source reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, treatment and responsible disposal. Elements of these practices are shown below:
Source Reduction—the generation of less waste through more efficient practices such as: material elimination inventory control and management material substitution process modification improved house keeping.
Reuse—the use of materials or products that are reusable in their original form such as chemical containers oil wastes for road construction and stabilization burning waste oil for energy.
Recycling/Recovery—The conversion of wastes into usable materials and/or extraction of energy or materials from waste. Examples include: recycling scrap metal recycling drilling mud using cleaned drill cuttings for road construction material recovering oil from tank bottoms and produced water.
Treatment—the destruction, detoxification and/or neutralization of residues through processes such as: biological methods—composting, tank based degradation thermal methods—incineration, thermal desorption chemical methods—neutralization, stabilization physical methods—filtration, centrifugation 4 WASTE MANAGEMENT GUIDELINES Drilling Waste Management Hierarchy.
Responsible Disposal—depositing wastes on land or in water using methods appropriate for a given situation. Disposal methods include: land filling burial surface discharge land spreading or land farming underground injection.
The potential ecological sensitivity of the location of operations is key to the selection of an appropriate management practice for a specific waste. This may require information on geology, hydrology, climate and biological communities. Environmental Impact Assessment documents can be a useful resource.