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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 3OIL AND GAS DIVISION
RULE §3.91Cleanup of Soil Contaminated by a Crude Oil Spill

(a) Terms. The following words and terms, when used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

  (1) Free oil--The crude oil that has not been absorbed by the soil and is accessible for removal.

  (2) Sensitive areas--These areas are defined by the presence of factors, whether one or more, that make an area vulnerable to pollution from crude oil spills. Factors that are characteristic of sensitive areas include the presence of shallow groundwater or pathways for communication with deeper groundwater; proximity to surface water, including lakes, rivers, streams, dry or flowing creeks, irrigation canals, stock tanks, and wetlands; proximity to natural wildlife refuges or parks; or proximity to commercial or residential areas.

  (3) Hydrocarbon condensate--The light hydrocarbon liquids produced in association with natural gas.

(b) Scope. These cleanup standards and procedures apply to the cleanup of soil in non-sensitive areas contaminated by crude oil spills from activities associated with the exploration, development, and production, including transportation, of oil or gas or geothermal resources as defined in §3.8(a)(30) of this title (relating to Water Protection). For the purposes of this section, crude oil does not include hydrocarbon condensate. These standards and procedures do not apply to hydrocarbon condensate spills, crude oil spills in sensitive areas, or crude oil spills that occurred prior to the effective date of this section. Cleanup requirements for hydrocarbon condensate spills and crude oil spills in sensitive areas will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Cleanup requirements for crude oil contamination that occurred wholly or partially prior to the effective date of this section will also be determined on a case-by-case basis. Where cleanup requirements are to be determined on a case-by-case basis, the operator must consult with the appropriate district office on proper cleanup standards and methods, reporting requirements, or other special procedures.

(c) Requirements for cleanup.

  (1) Removal of free oil. To minimize the depth of oil penetration, all free oil must be removed immediately for reclamation or disposal.

  (2) Delineation. Once all free oil has been removed, the area of contamination must be immediately delineated, both vertically and horizontally. For purposes of this paragraph, the area of contamination means the affected area with more than 1.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons.

  (3) Excavation. At a minimum, all soil containing over 1.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons must be brought to the surface for disposal or remediation.

  (4) Prevention of stormwater contamination. To prevent stormwater contamination, soil excavated from the spill site containing over 5.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons must immediately be:

    (A) mixed in place to 5.0% by weight or less total petroleum hydrocarbons; or

    (B) removed to an approved disposal site; or

    (C) removed to a secure interim storage location for future remediation or disposal. The secure interim storage location may be on site or off site. The storage location must be designed to prevent pollution from contaminated stormwater runoff. Placing oily soil on plastic and covering it with plastic is one acceptable means to prevent stormwater contamination; however, other methods may be used if adequate to prevent pollution from stormwater runoff.

(d) Remediation of soil.

  (1) Final cleanup level. A final cleanup level of 1.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons must be achieved as soon as technically feasible, but not later than one year after the spill incident. The operator may select any technically sound method that achieves the final result.

  (2) Requirements for bioremediation. If on-site bioremediation or enhanced bioremediation is chosen as the remediation method, the soil to be bioremediated must be mixed with ambient or other soil to achieve a uniform mixture that is no more than 18 inches in depth and that contains no more than 5.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons.

(e) Reporting requirements.

  (1) Crude oil spills over five barrels. For each spill exceeding five barrels of crude oil, the responsible operator must comply with the notification and reporting requirements of §3.20 of this title (relating to Notification of Fire Breaks, Leaks, or Blow-outs) and submit a report on a Form H-8 to the appropriate district office. The following information must be included:

    (A) area (square feet), maximum depth (feet), and volume (cubic yards) of soil contaminated with greater than 1.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons;

    (B) a signed statement that all soil containing over 1.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons was brought to the surface for remediation or disposal;

    (C) a signed statement that all soil containing over 5.0% by weight total petroleum hydrocarbons has been mixed in place to 5.0% by weight or less total petroleum hydrocarbons or has been removed to an approved disposal site or to a secure interim storage location;

    (D) a detailed description of the disposal or remediation method used or planned to be used for cleanup of the site;

    (E) the estimated date of completion of site cleanup.

  (2) Crude oil spills over 25 barrels. For each spill exceeding 25 barrels of crude oil, in addition to the report required in paragraph (1) of this subsection, the operator must submit to the appropriate district office a final report upon completion of the cleanup of the site. Analyses of samples representative of the spill site must be submitted to verify that the final cleanup concentration has been achieved.

  (3) Crude oil spills of five barrels or less. Spills into the soil of five barrels or less of crude oil must be remediated to these standards, but are not required to be reported to the commission. All spills of crude oil into water must be reported to the commission.

(f) Alternatives. Alternatives to the standards and procedures of this section may be approved by the commission for good cause, such as new technology, if the operator has demonstrated to the commission's satisfaction that the alternatives provide equal or greater protection of the environment. A proposed alternative must be submitted in writing and approved by the commission.


Source Note: The provisions of this §3.91 adopted to be effective November 1, 1993, 18 TexReg 6835.

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