Members of the state Senate unanimously passed a bill Friday allowing for the drill cuttings from natural gas fracking sites to be disposed of in county or privately owned landfills.
Currently, the drill cuttings can either be disposed of by burying them on site or deposited in landfills, but Senator Herb Snyder said landfills are the most environmentally friendly option.
The bill adds provisions that require the sites to monitor for heightened levels of radioactivity in the drill cuttings. It requires that landfills accepting the material separate it from any municipal waste and that a $1 fee be assessed for every ton.
Snyder said the first $750,000 of that fee will go toward conducting a scientific study of the materials themselves. Money collected after that mark, which Snyder expects to reach the millions, will go toward repairing roads in the drilling counties.
“Without this bill there are very little or no environmental regulations,” Snyder said. “There is no requirement for landfills to have these detectors at the gate.”
Counties that have a karst topography- meaning they have limestone- are prohibited from applying to accept waste.
The bill also says fracking filters which filter the water used on sites must be disposed of in an industrial landfill.