The decline in conventional drilling waste shipped to New York State in 2020 is a result of several factors.
There has been a significant impact on greater scrutiny that drilling waste products now receives in New York State, following the closure of the drilling waste loophole in 2020. In contrast to New York State, Pennsylvania—where regulations are not as stringent—spread nearly 11,000 barrels of conventional drilling waste water on its roads in 2020. In 2019, PA road-spread 17,000 barrels. In 2018, the quantity in PA was close to 19,000 barrels. In 2015, that number was more than 87,000 barrels.
In addition, rather than disposing of waste by road-spreading, Pennsylvania has historically sent produced water to sewage treatment plants, or other treatment facilities. Nonetheless, while the quantity of liquid waste sent to these facilities was nearly 3.5 million barrels in 2015, the volume declined to only 220,000 barrels by 2020. In general, this trend parallels the movement towards unconventional directional/ horizontal drilling, and away from conventional methods employed prior to the development of high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing.