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Company seeks permit for drilling waste facility

Posted: October 22, 2013 - 9:35pm  |  Updated: October 24, 2013 - 11:18am

The Kenai Planning and Zoning commission will hold a public hearing today on a request by Buccaneer Alaska Operations LLC to amend the company’s conditional use permit for its Marathon Road facility to include a storage and disposal unit for drilling waste.

The company has already been awarded a special-use permit by the city to operate the waste disposal facility; a conditional use permit from Planning and Zoning would supersede that permit, said acting Planning and Zoning commissioner Nancy Carver.

The permit is for a temporary drilling waste storage operation that would treat and store drilling waste from the company’s West Eagle #1 and Kenai Loop #2-1 wells.

Buccaneer currently has a permit to do exploratory drilling in the same location.

According to documents submitted to the city by Buccaneer, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation in September approved a permit for the company to treat and store the waste with the condition that the waste and facility must be removed or the permit reapplied for within one year.

The waste, once treated, will be disposed of in the Kenai Peninsula Borough landfill in Soldotna, according to the permit.

Buccaneer will subcontract construction and operation of the facility to AIMM Technologies Inc., according to the documents.

Normally, Buccanneer gets its drilling waste treated by AIMM at another facility, however AIMM did not get its certification in time to continue processing the waste, Carver said.

The City Council approved the company for a special use permit before the Planning and Zoning commission could hold a hearing to issue a conditional use permit so the company could begin processing the waste immediately, Carver said.

“If Planning and Zoning doesn’t approve the conditional use permit, it operates under the special use permit for a year,” she said. The difference between the two permits, Carver said, is that the conditional use permit sticks with a piece of property once approved, while a special use permit is temporary.

“Special use runs under the city manager’s office,” Carver said. “It becomes part of their lease and it’s good for one year but the conditional use goes with the land so if Buccaneer were to go away, that piece of land will have the conditional use that anybody could come in there and become a natural gas storage facility and store and take in drilling mud and store drilling mud.”

During a regular Wednesday City Council meeting on Oct. 16, council members approved a 30-year lease with the company for use of the property.

Eventually, said council member Bob Molloy, Buccaneer will move away from storing the waste in an above-ground facility and begin injecting drilling mud below the surface of the property.

City manager Rick Koch did not return calls for comment.

The Planning and Zoning meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in the City Council chambers.


Reach Rashah McChesney at

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corinnep 10/23/13 - 10:40 am
This should concern every Kenai resident

Why is this happening so quickly? Has the City checked into these practices or does it just accept what ADEC says? Since when is a "conditional use permit" supposed to be permanent?

People in Kenai should be concerned about oil and gas activity in town, since we seem to have no local rules in place to protect our air and water, and the State of Alaska has weak rules or no rules.

Notice how we just hear about this on the day of a hearing. Typical lack of transparency from the City of Kenai.

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