&EPA
Office of
United States	Ground Water and
Environmental Protection Agency	Drinking Water
CLASS V UIC STUDY FACT SHEET
NONCONTACT COOLING WATER WELLS
What is a noncontact cooling
water well?
What types of fluids are
injected into noncontact
cooling water wells?
Do injectate constituents
exceed drinking water
standards at the point of
injection?
What are the characteristics of
the injection zone of a
noncontact cooling water well?
Are there any contamination
incidents associated with
noncontact cooling water
wells?
Are noncontact cooling water
wells vulnerable to spills or
illicit discharges?
How many noncontact cooling
water wells exist in the United
States?
Where are noncontact cooling
water wells located within the
United States?
How are noncontact cooling
water wells regulated in states
with the largest number of this
type of well?
Where can I obtain additional
information on noncontact
cooling water wells?
Noncontact cooling water wells are Class V underground injection control (UIC) wells that are
used to inject noncontact cooling water that contains no additives and has not been chemically
altered. Wells that inject contact cooling water or noncontact cooling water that contains
additives (e.g., corrosion inhibitors, biocides) or is contaminated compared to the original
source water are considered "industrial wells."
Only noncontact cooling water that contains no additives and has not been chemically altered.
Noncontact cooling water is water used in a cooling system designed to maintain constant
separation of the water with process chemicals.
No sampling data are available. Thus, at this time, it is not possible to characterize the quality
of fluids injected into noncontact cooling water wells. However, given the very narrow way
that such wells and noncontact cooling water are defined, it is reasonable to expect that the
quality of the fluids will not threaten underground sources of drinking water.
Available information suggests that these wells are commonly used in situations in which
cooling water is withdrawn from an aquifer and then injected back into the same formation.
No contamination incidents associated with noncontact cooling water wells have been reported.
The only scenario in which noncontact cooling water wells could be contaminated would
involve pipe leaks that allow process chemicals or other contaminants to commingle with the
cooling water.
Spills or illicit discharges into noncontact cooling water wells appear extremely unlikely, since
noncontact cooling water systems are operated as closed systems that are virtually inaccessible
for "midnight dumping." No incidents of this or any other kind have been reported.
EPA estimates that there are 7,780 noncontact cooling water wells in the United States.
However, it was not possible to distinguish noncontact cooling water wells from other kinds of
commercial or industrial wells in the survey. Therefore, the estimated number of noncontact
cooling water wells includes some carwash wells, laundromat wells, and food processing waste
disposal wells (i.e., the true number of noncontact cooling water wells is smaller).
Noncontact cooling water wells may exist in as many as 22 states, although most appear to be
concentrated in AK (212), WA (3,900), and TN (1,000). Ninety-eight percent of the
documented and estimated noncontact cooling water wells in the United States are found in ten
states: OH, NY, WV, AL, TN, IA, MT, CA, AK, and WA.
Permit by rule: TN, WV, OH, I A, MT, CA
Individual permit. AK, WA (existing), AL, NY
Ban: WA (new)
For general information, contact the Safe Drinking Water Hotline, toll-free 800-426-4791. The
Safe Drinking Water Hotline is open Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays, from
9:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. For technical inquiries, contact Amber Moreen,
Underground Injection Control Program Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water (mail
code 4606), EPA, 401 M Street, SW, Washington, D.C., 20460. Phone: 202-260-4891. E-mail:
lno reen. alliber V/ epa. go\ . The complete Class VUIC Study (EPA/816-R-99-014, September
1999), which includes a volume addressing noncontact cooling water wells (Volume 22), can
be found at http://www.epa.gov/OGWDW/uic/cl5study.html.

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