The Ohio Department of Natural Resources soon will be releasing proposed rules aimed at tightening the state’s rules on drilling for oil and natural gas.
The plan covers a sweeping array of regulations, many highly technical — from well-pad construction to wastewater treatment, processing and recycling.
Proposals include new spill prevention rules, requiring that well drilling pads be approved by state engineers, live tracking of trucks hauling drilling wastes and finalizing rules and permits for temporary above-ground football field-sized storage pits for fresh water or wastewater.
In connection with the new rules, Ohio is planning to hire an additional 40 staffers in 2014 for its Division of Oil & Gas Resources Management, officials said.
Among those new jobs would be engineers at state offices in Green, New Philadelphia and Zanesville, where they could oversee well construction in the Utica shale in eastern Ohio. Currently, the division employs about 110 staffers.
Rick Simmers, chief of the ODNR division, called the new rules “good stuff.”
He said they are needed and will put Ohio in “a much better position” to deal with Utica drilling.