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Sample of drill cuttings under a 10x microscope. (Mudgineer via Wikimpedia CC BY-SA 3.0)

ND mulling project to recycle oil drilling waste for roads

BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota lawmakers are looking at a project to treat and recycle the drilling waste for road building and other uses.

The measure would set aside about $65,000 for the state Health Department to monitor a project and develop standards.

Companies targeting the rich Bakken shale formation in western North Dakota get more than crude oil when they drill nearly two miles then angle the well sideways for about another two to three miles. Oil drillers are left with some two dozen semitrailer loads of drill cuttings that either have to be stored on site or dumped in a landfill.

State Environmental Health Chief Dave Glatt says the idea has promise if it can be done in “an environmentally safe manner.”

In related news, Oil slowdown means Bismarck city road projects costing less.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


  1. Sounds like a great idea. I’ll bet the antifrackers will try to come up with a negative on it.

    • Dioxin is no longer manufactured or used in US. All the chemical in the drlg fluids that would be residual on the cutting are EPA approved—- from your article
      “In response to the events that transpired in Missouri during the 1970s, a number of laws were passed to regulate the generation and disposal of potentially hazardous products. In 1976, Congress passed the Toxic Substances Control Act, which required the testing of chemicals that could pose an unreasonable risk to the environment. In 1976, Congress also passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), which regulated the transportation and disposal of toxic waste.[8] In 1980, the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)”

    • Hi Thad, Point I was trying to make need to make sure there is no harmful effects in waste before spreading around the country and having next generation clean it up. When I hear about improper radioactive sock disposal I am concerned. Proper handling and analysis is good for me.

    • Oil field cuttings are disposed in land fills and in some states re-cycled as road base– as I stated all chemical and components in drlg fluids are EPA approved– to marine use standards no less. Because those are the most strict and drlg fluids companies not wanting to maintain two different inventories, land and marine, go to the highest standard–

  2. We already have the equipment in the baken.