With oil and natural gas exploration growing in Ohio, state and local officials are preparing for the possibility that “man camps” to house industry workers soon could dot the landscape.
Asa reported by the Toledo Blade, Ohio agencies have not received any applications to date, but what has happened in other states experiencing an oil boom foreshadows a surge in new, temporary housing.
Man camps, as they have been dubbed, are typically a collection of recreational vehicles, mobile homes, or dormitory-style modular housing. The camps are home to hundreds of employees for months at a time while wells are being drilled in areas with limited hotels or rental-housing availability.
The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio Department of Health have released a 12-page document outlining rules on drinking water and wastewater from toilets, showers, sinks, and laundry facilities in dealing with such temporary housing. Camps must provide clean, potable drinking water and appropriate wastewater management under state and county health rules.
The document is intended to “clarify Ohio’s current regulations,” said EPA spokesman Mike Settles. “There are no new regulations tied to the guidance. …There’s nothing dramatic here.”
The state’s document was developed “as a tool for drilling companies, entrepreneurs, or other interested parties looking at providing temporary housing facilities for oil-gas field workers,” it says.
The document notes that the eastern half of Ohio sits atop the Utica shale formation that could be lucrative with natural gas, oil, and so-called wet gases: ethane, butane, and propane. “There may be a similar increase in the need for temporary housing [‘man camps’] for field workers employed at the drill rigs,” the report says.
Settles said it is possible that such camps could be coming to Ohio “down the pike.”
To read the entire article in the Toledo Blade click here.