University of Colorado at Boulder
BMP of Oil and Gas Development

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BMP ID: 6191
Title: Disposal in Salt Caverns
Text: "Salt caverns used for oil field waste disposal are created by a process called solution mining. Well drilling equipment is used to drill a hole from the surface to the depth of the salt formation and a smaller diameter pipe called tubing is lowered through the middle of the well. This arrangement creates two pathways into and out of the well. To form a salt cavern, the well operator pumps fresh water through one of the pipes. As the fresh water comes in contact with the salt formation, the salt dissolves until the water becomes saturated with salt. Cavern space is created by the removal of the salt-laden brine." Then, wastes are made into a slurry and injected into the cavern space.
Source Publication Name: Drilling Waste Management Information System
Citation Section: Technology Descriptions: Fact Sheet - Disposal in Salt Caverns
Citation Page:
Supplemental Documents:  
Usage Type: Recommended
Timing: • Drilling
Oil / Gas Field:  
Surface Ownership: • Federal
• State
• Private
Mineral Ownership: • Federal
• State
• Private
Primary Contact: Argonne National Laboratory
Phone:     Alt. Phone:
Fax:     E-mail: 
Alternate Contact: National Energy Technology Laboratory
Phone:     Alt. Phone:
Fax:     E-mail: 
Categories: Land Surface Disturbance
Location: General / Federal
Vegetation Types:
General Comments:
Cost-Benefit Analysis: 1997 "costs for cavern disposal of nonhazardous oil field waste, including drilling waste, ranged from $2 to $6/bbl."
BMP Efficacy:
Date Entered: 2009-08-19 12:29 MDT
Last Updated: 2011-07-17 13:28 MDT