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NTL 94-1

Notice to Lessees and Operators of Onshore Federal and Indian
Oil and Gas Leases Within the Jurisdiction
of the Farmington and Albuquerque District Offices
(NTL 94-1 FDO/ADO)

Closure Standards for Unlined Surface Impoundments

I. Background:

Recently, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Commission issued revisions to Order No. R-7940-C requiring the elimination of discharge into all unlined pits within the defined Vulnerable Area of northwest New Mexico and the subsequent closure of all unlined pits within the Area. The Farmington and Albuquerque Districts of the Bureau of Land Management, the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (NMOCD), the Environmental Protection Agency Region IX, the Navajo Environmental Protection Agency (Navajo EPA), the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Forest Service and numerous San Juan Basin operators/lessees have jointly developed standards for the closure of unlined surface impoundments associated with oil and gas operations.

The purpose of this NTL is to establish the standards for closure of unlined surface impoundments associated with oil and gas production activities on Federal and Indian leases. These standards are designed to economically close surface impoundments in an environmentally safe manner and to limit future liability.

III. Authority:

Title 43 CFR Part 3161.2, Part 3164.2, and Part 3162.5-1 (Environmental Obligations)

IV. Definitions:

Unlined Surface Impoundment. Any unlined impoundment utilized in oil and gas production which receives anything other than water containing less than 10,000 mg/l (ppm) total dissolved solids.

V. Standards:

Standards for closure of unlined surface impoundments are contained in the jointly adopted "Unlined Surface Impoundment Closure Guidelines" dated March 15, 1993 which is incorporated herein by reference. This document is available at the Farmington and Albuquerque, New Mexico BLM, and the NMOCD offices. Operators/lessees are to refer to this document for specific guidance on standards and procedures required for closure of unlined surface impoundments.


APPROVED:Date: 1-3-94Michael R. Ford
Albuquerque District Manager
 Date: 12-29-93Michael J. Pool
Farmington District Manager