The permit to construct a horizontal well site promotes safety and protects the public and the environment by enforcing design standards and construction requirements for horizontal well sites, including drilling pads and access roads that are necessary to support safe operation of the large drilling rigs and associated equipment. Chapter 1501:9-2 of the Ohio Administrative Code, effective July 16, 2015, defines the design standards and the application submittal and review/approval processes for a permit to construct. Additional engineering staff, including natural resources engineers and technicians, were hired to review design submittals and oversee construction for compliance with the approved permit for horizontal well pad sites. Since the effective date of the rule, the following have been realized:
- A significant reduction in horizontal well site performance issues, to include slope failures, ineffective erosion controls, differential settlements affecting rig stability, negative impacts to wetlands and surface waters, routine and emergency access to the well site;
- Improved identification of and protection from site location features that impacts the safe construction and operation of well pads, such as surface and underground mines, flood plains, public and private drinking water sources;
- More than 400 permits for construction of horizontal well pads have been issued;
- More than 550 significant construction modifications have been designed and approved by the Division’s engineering staff.