Industry Phrases

Bench-Scale Testing

An intensive process that allows Scott to build the best lease roads and drilling pads. The process involves representative sampling, creating multiple designs, creating test specimens, and testing them for the optimum results.


Mixing two or more initially separate things with one another. Under environmental law, when any amount of polluting material is mixed with any other solid, the entire mixture becomes polluting until proved otherwise. That proof can be, and in fact usually is, long and expensive to obtain, if possible at all.

This commingling principle means, among many other things, that if your company dumps one truckload of drilling waste into a landfill that occupies a full square mile, your company has just become potentially liable for the damage by pollution, possibly including hazardous material pollution, from any part of that landfill, even though the drilling waste dumped contains no hazardous materials.

Constituents of Potential Concern

In a risk assessment, a substance detected at a hazardous waste site that has the potential to affect receptors adversely due to its concentration, distribution, and mode of toxicity (USEPA 1997b). COPCs are generally categorized operationally, i.e., based on how they are measured in the analytical laboratory. “Inorganic” COPCs generally address metals, elements, and unique inorganic compounds such as perchlorate. “Organic” COPCs include VOCs (such as acetone, benzene, trichloroethylene, etc.), SVOCs (such as chlorophenols, chlorobenzenes, phthalate esters, etc.), pesticides (e.g., atrazine, DDT, toxaphene), PCBs, and polychlorinated dibenzodioxin and dibenzofurans. (ITRC definition)

Hydraulic Conductivity

A measureable material property related to ease of movement of water through a porous medium under groundwater flow conditions governed by Darcy’s Law (Bear 1972). This term is often used interchangeably with the more general term “permeability,” which relates to the ease with which a fluid (e.g., water, oil, air, etc.) will pass through a porous medium. (ITRC definition


The ability of the material to retain contaminants of concern through a combination of chemical and physical mechanisms. May be used to describe either the extent of leaching (e.g., percentage of total content that have leached) or rate of release (e.g., the time-dependent release) from materials. (ITRC definition)

Mobile Recycling

A method for treating drilled cuttings that processes drilling waste at the generating site or a nearby location. In this method, the recycling comes to you and reduces the cost of trucking.

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM)

Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) can be of concern to operators, and appropriate treatment methods should be used to handled such materials. Once NORM comes to the surface, it is considered TENORM, or Technologically Enhanced Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, because it has been removed from its natural location.

Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)

The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act set the minimum standards for how to manage solid drilling waste.

Sham Recycling

Sham recycling may include situations when a secondary material is ineffective or only marginally effective for the claimed use; used in excess of the amount necessary; or handled in a manner inconsistent with its use as a raw material or commercial product substitute.(EPA Definition)

Sodium adsorption ratio (SAR)

Ratio of the sodium (detrimental element) to the combination of calcium and magnesium (beneficial elements) in relation to known effects on soil dispensability.


Solidification involves the processes that encapsulate contaminated material to form a solid material and restricts contaminant migration by decreasing the surface area exposed to leaching and/or by coating the contaminated material with low hydraulic conductivity [movement of water] materials. (EPA Definition)


The process where chemical reactions occur between the reagents and contaminated material to reduce the leachability [ability to be removed or transported via contact with water] of contaminated material by creating a stable insoluble form. (EPA Definition)

Thermal Desorption

A process for extracting the diesel (any liquid/fluid) from drilling waste.  Although this process removes significant amounts of diesel, it does not address the heavy metals and salts within the waste.

Total Petroleum Hydrocarbon (TPH)

Refers to the total mass of hydrocarbons measured in a sample. It is a combination of thousands of individual chemical compounds. TPH is generally broken down into gasoline range organics (GRO), diesel range organics (DRO), and oil range organics (ORO).