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Land Farming in the TMS

Posted by bernell on August 24, 2014

Land Farming, as it relates to the Tuscaloosa Marine Shale, would be the act of taking otherwise hazardous wastes and spreading them out on the ground as a type of fertilizer.

It is kind of like taking chicken litter and spreading it out on land.  It helps the land, but left in a pile it would be considered a type of hazardous waste.

At any rate, I am here to learn today rather than to report.

I was contacted about the possibility of a company setting up a tank battery for the purpose of receiving these oil field items for the purpose of creating a "land farm" opportunity.  

Here was my response, in part, 

"Land Farming" hasn't been done, yet, with TMS wastes, so far as I know... Land farming is where they take the mud from the pits when the drilling is completed and spread it out on farm land. Despite our cringing at the idea, we need to understand that this mud (unless it has gone through a salt dome type situation), normally consists of biodegradable material.

By spreading it out on the ground, I'm told, the degradation process from sunlight and microbes can actually take place much more quickly than otherwise.

Land farming has been done many times over the years, even in our part of the world.

If fact, I'm only aware of it because a land owner asked about it at a public forum with Encana about 2 years ago now. It seems the mud has some positive benefit to the soil. I don't recall if it is like putting lime on the ground to improve the PH of the soil or if it is like putting low grade fertilizers on the ground in order to improve the acidity.

Either way, this farmer had used some in the past and wanted more.

However, though spreading this on the ground may have some positive impacts, it isn't necessarily a cheaper form of disposal for the oil companies. The fact that trucks have to dispense of it, spreading relatively small quantities of it on an acre of ground (perhaps 2-3 tons per acre), hurts the cost savings from just hauling it to some regulated disposal location...

Here is a link to more info on the subject: "

What do you know about this potential "land farm" business setting up in our area?

What do you think about it?