Frequently Asked Questions

Austin Master Services works directly with various governmental agencies including the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Ohio Department of Health (ODH), Ohio EPA (OEPA), and the Town of Martins Ferry. Based on these relationships and our commitment to the community, our intent is to do more than what is required by regulations and ensure the safety of our team, our customers, and our community. 

Please find the following insight helpful as you review and research the oil and gas waste remediation process.

Does Austin Master Services monitor air quality within the facility?

Yes. Our air quality monitoring program has been approved by ODNR. Within the facility in Martins Ferry, Austin Master Services has three air quality monitoring units. The most recent analysis of air monitoring data, performed in April 2022, indicates employee exposure to airborne radioactivity to be well below the exposure limit for members of the public of 100mRem per year.

To put this into perspective, a chest x-ray typically provides exposure at 10 mRem. A full body CT scan provides exposure at 1,000 mRem. More information is available here.

Since employee exposure is well below the public limit it logically follows that members of the public significantly further away from operations are in no harm.

In regard to employee safety, every team member has a thorough knowledge of the work we do and is completely aware of the procedures put in place to help them remain safe while at work. 

Our radiation safety program was in place before there was an implementation requirement.  That same program has been approved and audited by ODNR.  Each team member completes safety training before they engage in their tasks.  We also hold ongoing training for our teams. 

Does Austin Master Services create waste at its facility in Martins Ferry, OH?

No. Austin Master Services is a waste remediation facility that receives RCRA-exempt oil and gas waste materials from the oil and gas industry and processes that material. Materials arrive at our facility from various locations throughout Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

What does Austin Master Services process waste at this facility?

Material that arrives at the Austin Master Services facility and is processed much like materials are at a wastewater treatment facility. Water is removed from the material through various steps and then dried.  Once the material is dewatered through various steps, our team conditions the material for shipment to a local landfill or a Low-Level Radioactive Waste Facility (LLRW). 

Austin Master Services process 2022
THe Austin Master Services waste remediation process

What material is processed at the Austin Master Services facility?

The materials received include produced fluids, produced sand, oil and gas wastewater treatment sludge, debris, and filters from the oil and gas industry. Use this link to assist with referencing industry terms.

Have any fines been levied or violations occurred at Austin Master Services?

The regulation of the exploration and production of oil and natural gas resources in the state of Ohio is under the sole and exclusive authority of Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). ODNR is responsible for visiting and reviewing the waste remediation process on a regular basis and compiles reports of these visits. Within the reports are recommendations, however, under the Chief’s Order there are no fines levied.  ODNR submits recommendations and will conduct subsequent reviews, which Austin Master Services will continue to follow and make the necessary improvements.

Please note: The ODNR reports showcase a snapshot in time. If someone reads all the reports in succession, the voluntary actions taken by the Austin Masters Services team are identified throughout. This includes ODNR recommended improvements made from one report to the next. Click here to review these reports.

What is Austin Master Services doing about dust around the facility?

Austin Master Services is located near a limestone quarry, a railroad line, several other businesses, and a 4-lane highway. Dust has the potential to come from a variety of locations. 

More importantly, the waste that arrives at our facility is very wet.  In this state, it is challenging to find airborne particulates or dust because of the general chemistry.

Within the facility, we have installed multiple air quality monitoring systems, which are permitted by the Ohio EPA, and have consistently recorded samples below minimum detectable levels. In addition, Austin Master Services works with the bay doors closed during operating hours – with the exception of arriving trucks – as we continue to evaluate the cause of dust in the area. 

ODNR has reported this response to dust control is in line with their recommendations.  

Are Austin Master Services employees safe and informed?

Every team member has a thorough knowledge of the work we do and is completely aware of the procedures put in place to help them remain safe while at work. 

Our radiation safety program was in place before there was an implementation requirement.  That same program has been approved and audited by ODNR.  Each team member completes safety training before they engage in their tasks.  We also hold ongoing training for our teams.

Do employees take their clothes home and risk exposing their families.

Austin Master Services has internal systems to clean employee uniforms, which they are required to wear at all times while at work.  No uniforms are taken out of the facility.  In fact, Austin Master Services has its own internal waste treatment facility and the washing systems utilize treated water to keep our team safe.  

In addition, no personal tools are used on site.  Our policies are focused on keeping our team members safe and reducing all external contaminations that can be controlled as it affects the community.

How does Austin Master Services track and manage the waste that arrives at the facility?

Austin Master Services developed a proprietary management system to track all material. This system includes manifests that detail the waste origin, carrier, weight, and other industry items. Our team utilizes this system for arrivals and deliveries.

This system has been approved and audited by ODNR and ODH.

What method of storage or containment does Austin Master Services use?

Throughout the facility, waste is stored in various states – liquid and solids. 

Liquids are stored in tanks designed for various materials. Surrounding each storage tank and any piece of equipment that utilizes water within its process is a secondary containment system that resembles roadway berms. This method is an industry standard and meets ODNR requirements.

Solids are stored in concrete bins. As material arrives at the facility, it is stored in bins to be down blended or until sufficient transportation is available. At times, based on the volume of material, those bins may overflow as our team works to process the waste. This does not cause issues within the facility and the process remains safe.

What steps does Austin Master Services take to protect the water system?

Austin Master Services installed a well monitoring system to actively monitor those wells. At our expense, we enlist a third-party environmental firm to test the well water. To date, all tests have shown no known issues or high levels of radioactive material associated with the Austin Masters facility. In addition, the City of Martins Ferry tests its water system and has conclusively reported that the test results in the area have consistently remained the same over the past 30 years.

Is an emergency response plan in place?

Yes. Our emergency response plan has been reviewed by ODNR.

Does Austin Master Services store chemicals on-site?

There are no chemicals stored on-site besides small amounts of cleaning supplies, various chemicals used in the material testing process and lime.

How often is Austin Master Services reviewed by government agencies?

Our facility undergoes governmental agency oversight reviews and site visits on a regular basis. Based on the agency and the review type, we may receive notification in advance, however, in most instances, notification occurs the day of and our team coordinates site tours and provides details requested.