Managing and Reducing Waste
We prioritize reducing, recycling and reusing our operational waste before disposal, complying with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). This compliance includes characterizing all waste and shepherding it through its lifecycle, regardless of volume.
Responsible waste management starts with accurate accounting of our waste. We track hauled water and waste streams used throughout a well’s lifecycle and make this reporting available to our operational and HSER leadership. By building awareness, we challenge each business unit to reduce its waste production to minimize landfilling, environmental impacts and costs.
99% of our generated waste is produced water.
Each operating area has a waste management plan that lists wastes generated, the characterization of the wastes in that jurisdiction, on-site management requirements and best practices, and approved waste disposal vendors. Each plan is reviewed and updated at least annually to address changes to state regulations, operations and vendor capacity.
As an example, Chesapeake recently acquired producing assets from an adjacent operator, which used different processes and generated different waste streams. HSER waste specialists worked with Operations to incorporate these new wastes into the regional waste management plan and set up profiles for disposal at approved destination facilities.
Our Waste and Operations teams adopt innovative solutions for reducing or recycling waste to limit our environmental impact.
- Treating and reusing produced water in operations
- Separating hydrocarbons from solid wastes or sludges before disposal
- Treating drill cuttings for use as road base or mulch
- Implementing closed loop drilling systems and longer lateral lengths (fewer pad sites)
- Using elementary neutralization as a treatment to render certain waste non-hazardous prior to management and disposal
- Implementing an enterprise-wide battery recycling program, managed from our corporate offices
- Creating a dedicated waste-reduction program on our corporate campus, including an eco-exchange for surplus office supplies and an extensive recycling program
Under the RCRA, facilities determine their regulated generator status based on monthly rates of hazardous waste generation. Under normal operations, all active Chesapeake facilities are Very Small Quantity Generators; however, generation rates are monitored and notifications made if this status changes. Less than 1% of Chesapeake’s generated waste meets the RCRA hazardous criteria.
The disposal of waste containing naturally occurring radioactive material (NORM) is highly specialized, requiring proper handling, removal and transport procedures. While the radioactivity emitted from the sediments on production equipment is a fraction of regulated radiation worker dose limits, Chesapeake follows the As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA) radiation protection standard to minimize exposure.
Our HSER and Operations teams partner to measure the level of NORM on all locations using specialized radiation survey equipment. We then use this data to implement appropriate safe work practices, including the use of specially licensed and trained professionals for handling and disposal.
Worker Protective Equipment
All Chesapeake locations that generate, process or dispose of produced water are surveyed regularly to properly identify and manage accumulations of NORM.
Beyond operational site waste, our office locations produce a limited amount of waste, primarily electronic and battery. We recycle these materials by partnering with entities that specialize in the disposal of these types of products. For example, we collect batteries on our corporate campus and in our field locations before sending them to a national collection firm for recycling and recovery of usable materials.
Our electronic waste recycling vendor repurposes reusable IT equipment and parts, recycling any non-usable assets. This process also includes comprehensive data destruction and protection of company assets while preparing the equipment for additional use. Our vendor maintains certifications related to IT asset disposition and recycling, including R(1), ISO 9001(2), ISO 14001(3) and OHSAS 18001(4).
On our corporate campus, we host targeted recycling drives to encourage sustainable practices among our employees. From paper shredding and recycling events to e-waste collections, we offer opportunities for employees to be more environmentally responsible at work and at home.
And, because we believe every contribution counts, we have made significant changes to our on-campus restaurant, introducing eco-friendly single use items, reusable to-go containers and composting.
In 2021, we recycled more than 252,000 pounds of paper at our corporate headquarters.
(1) R2 is the leading global standard for electronics reuse and recycling. The R2 standard establishes best practices for data security, environmental protection, worker safety and transparency.
(2) ISO 9001 is the globally recognized standard for a quality management system.
(3) ISO 14001 is globally recognized as a standard for environmental management systems, ensuring environmental impacts are analyzed and minimized.
(4) OHSAS 18001 is a management system standard specifically focused on identifying and mitigating hazards to worker health and safety.