United States
Environmental Protection
Agency
Office of
Drinking Water
Washington, D.G 20460
April 1979
Protection of	Fact Sheet
Underground Sources
of Drinking Water
EPA's Underground
Injection Control (UIC)
Regulations

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FACT SHEET
PROTECTION OF UNDERGROUND SOURCES
OF DRINKING WATER
EPA1S UNDERGROUND INJECTION CONTROL (UIC)
REGULATIONS
U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY
OFFICE OF DRINKING WATER
401 M STREET, S.W.
WASHINGTON, D.C. 2 0460
APRIL 1979

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The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974, as amended,
requires the Environmental Protection Agency to establish a
program to provide for the safety of our nation's drinking
water. One phase of thi's program involves the creation of a
set of regulations to protect underground sources of drinking
water from contamination by well injection practices.
WHY ARE THESE REGULATIONS NEEDED?
The U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Inter-
state and Foreign Commerce reported that "underground
injection of contaminants is clearly an increasing problem.
Municipalities are increasingly engaged in underground
injection of sewerage, sludge, and other wastes. Industries
are injecting chemicals, byproducts, and wastes. Energy
production companies are using injection techniques to
increase production and to dispose of unwanted brines
brought to the surface during production. Even government
agencies... are getting rid of difficult to manage waste
problems by underground disposal methods."
These practices create situations which may endanger
underground drinking water sources. Since more than half of
the nation's water supply is drawn from groundwater sources,
injection is clearly a matter of concern. It has been
estimated that there are more than 500,000 injection wells
of various types throughout the country. It is for these
reasons that the UIC Regulations have been proposed.
HIGHLIGHTS OF THE PROPOSED REGULATIONS
* State Programs
The law requires the Environmental Protection Agency to
establish minimum requirements for effective State programs
to regulate injection wells which may endanger present or
future sources of drinking water. It is intended that
individual States will have the primary enforcement responsi-
bility for the regulations (primacy). However, in those
cases where a State either has no program for injection
control, an inadequate program, or fails to enforce an
otherwise adequate program, the EPA will establish and/or
enforce the program.
EPA must approve the State's UIC program in order for
the State to assume primacy. Approval depends on a State:
- Adopting and implementing an enforceable UIC program
and procedures for enforcement
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- Establishing and maintaining records and reporting
activities
Identifying underground sources of drinking water in
the State
The vast majority (85%) of the injection wells in the
United States to be regulated are located in 22 States (see
Appendix A). These States have already been notified that
an underground injection control program is necessary to
assure that underground injection will not endanger drinking
water sources. It is anticipated that all States will be
included no later than May, 1980, so that a regulatory
program will be in effect throughout the country. It
should be noted that many States have current programs
regulating some or all of the covered classes of wells.
* Classification of Wells
The injection wells have been categorized into four
specific groups and one general one. The four specific
groups are:
1.	Industrial and municipal disposal wells;
nuclear storage and disposal wells (Class I)
2.	Injection wells associated with oil and
gas production and hydrocarbon storage (Class II)
3.	Special process wells used in conjunction
with solution mining of minerals, in situ
gasification of oil shale, coal, etc., and the
recovery of geothermal energy (Class III)
4.	Wells which are used by generators of
hazardous wastes or hazardous waste management
facilities (Class IV).
All other injection wells are included in one general
category (Class V). This category includes recharge wells,
air conditioning return flow wells, drainage wells, etc.
Because these wells are so numerous and because good informa-
tion is often lacking, each State is required to survey
such wells for their potential danger to drinking water
sources and to recommend possible alternatives for regulatory
control.
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Permits
UIC permits will impose both technological and
administrative requirements on well operators. Permits will
cover:
Essential construction features of wells
-	Allowable well operating conditions
-	Monitoring of well operations
Reporting of operating results
Any need for corrective action to prevent fluid
migration and schedules for taking action
Well abandonment conditions
Provision for public agency access to records
and facilities
Provisions for permit review, modification, and
termination
All Class I and III wells, and Class II wells, except
existing enhanced recovery and hydrocarbon storage operations,
must be authorized by permits. New wells in these categories
may not begin injecting unless their owner or operator is
first issued a permit. Existing wells in these categories
must be repermitted within five years of the approval of the
State plan by EPA. State UIC plans will specify a schedule
for the submission of permit applications for iexisting
wells.
Applications for permits must contain sufficient data
to show the potential impact of the proposed injection on
underground sources of drinking water.
* Rule
Once a State program is effective, no injection well
may be operated without authorization. Such authorization
may bo provided by permits (as discussed above) or by rule.
Existing Class II enhanced recovery and hydrocarbon storage
wells, and Class IV and V wells may be authorized by rule.
In addition, other wells may be initially authorized by rule
until the permit has been reviewed and reissued.
Rules for Class II wells must apply essentially the
same requirements as individual permits, but save the need
for reviewing and reissuing some 115,000 individual permits.
Rules for Classes IV and V must apply the regulatory require-
ments discussed above.
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*	Construction Requirements
Wells.must be constructed in such a manner that the
migration of injected fluids into the underground drinking
water source is prevented.
*	Operating, Monitoring and Reporting Requirements
Operators must monitor the injection pressure at
various times. Reporting requirements will be established
for routine monitoring, corrective action progress, changes
in the characteristics of water supply wells, and violations
of permit terms and conditions with statements of corrective
action taken by violators.
MAJOR ISSUES
Is the cost of implementing these regulations in
balance with the benefits achieved?1
Do the requirements for oil and gas related wells
strike an appropriate balance between environmental
protection and the statutory requirement not to
interfere, with or impede oil and gas production?
Is the definition of underground sources of drinking
water appropriate? Are the 3 exceptions allowed from
the definition appropriate?
Is the requirement for Class V wells inventory and
assessment in 2 years appropriate?
Will the requirements as stated force States to obtain
new or changed authorities from their legislatures in
order to qualify for primacy?
Are the time frames and schedule in the regulations
reasonable?
Is there sufficient opportunity for public involvement
in the designation of drinking water sources to be
protected? In hearings on permit applications?
PUBLIC COMMENT WANTED
In the 30 months since the original UIC Regulations
were proposed in August, 1976, the Environmental Protection
Agency has endeavored to involve the public to the greatest
extent feasible. Three public hearings were conducted/
attracting representatives from industry; citizen and
environmental groups; Federal, State and local governments;
and the general public.
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The current regulations reproposed in April, 1979/
reflect a careful analysis and integration of comments
received from the various sectors of the public.
In a series of public hearings to be held beginning
in July of this year, the public will have an opportunity
to comment further on the issues raised in the new
regulations. We urge you to read the regulations and to
participate in these hearings.
HEARING SCHEDULE
Location	Dates
District of Columbia	To be announced later
Chicago
Seattle
Dallas
Copies of reports, documents and other relevant materials
are available for review at EPA Headquarters and Regional
offices. For the office nearest you consult the list below.
Environmental Protection Agency
Public Information Reference Unit
Room 2922
401 M Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20460
EPA Regional Offices
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region I Library
Room 2211B, JFK Federal Bldg.
Boston, MA. 02203
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region II Library 26 Federal Plaza
New York, New York 10007
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region III Library
Curtis Bldg., 6th & Walnut Streets
Philadelphia, PA 19106
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(Cont'd)
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region IV Library
345 Cburtland Street N.E.
Atlanta, Georgia 30308
U.Si Environmental Protection Agency
Region V Library
230 Dearborn Street - Room 1417
Chicago, Illinois 60604
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region VI Library
1201 Elm Street, First International Bldg.
Dallas, Texas 75270
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region VII Library
1735 Baltimore Avenue
Kansas City, MO. 64108
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region VIII Library, 8M-ASL
186 0 Lincoln Street
Denver, Colorado 802 95
U.S. Environmental. Protection Agency
Region IX Library
215 Freemont.Street
San Francisco, CA. 94105
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Region X Library
12 00 Sixth Avenue
Seattle, Washington 98101
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Office of~ Drinking Water (WH-550)
Groundwater Protection Branch
401 M Street, S.W.
Room 1011 East Tower
Washington, D.C. 20460
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APPENDIX "A"
1. Section 1422 (a) ; ~List of States ' "'"Section 1422 (a)
requires EPA to list in the Federal Register each State for
which an underground injection control program "may be
necessary" to insure that underground injections will not
endanger drinking water sources. EPA recently published its
initial list of States (43 FR 43420, September 25, 1978) ;
LIST OF STATES
* Twenty-two States are on the initial list:
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Florida
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Michigan
Mississippi
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Oklahoma
Pennsylvania
Texas
Utah
West Virginia
Wyoming
* In addition, Maryland has petitioned to be listed in the
initial group of States.
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