Any person who disposes of saltwater or other oil and gas waste
by injection into a porous formation not productive of oil, gas, or
geothermal resources shall be responsible for complying with this
section, Texas Water Code, Chapter 27, and Title 3 of the Natural
(1) General. Saltwater or other oil and gas waste,
as that term is defined in the Texas Water Code, Chapter 27, may be
disposed of, upon application to and approval by the commission, by
injection into nonproducing zones of oil, gas, or geothermal resources
bearing formations that contain water mineralized by processes of
nature to such a degree that the water is unfit for domestic, stock,
irrigation, or other general uses. Every applicant who proposes to
dispose of saltwater or other oil and gas waste into a formation not
productive of oil, gas, or geothermal resources must obtain a permit
from the commission authorizing the disposal in accordance with this
section. Permits from the commission issued before the effective date
of this section shall continue in effect until revoked, modified,
or suspended by the commission.
(2) Geological requirements. Before such formations
are approved for disposal use, the applicant shall show that the formations
are separated from freshwater formations by impervious beds which
will give adequate protection to such freshwater formations. The applicant
must submit a letter from the Groundwater Advisory Unit of the Oil
and Gas Division stating that the use of such formation will not endanger
the freshwater strata in that area and that the formations to be used
for disposal are not freshwater-bearing.
(A) The application to dispose of saltwater or other
oil and gas waste by injection into a porous formation not productive
of oil, gas, or geothermal resources shall be filed with the commission
in Austin accompanied by the prescribed fee. On the same date, one
copy shall be filed with the appropriate district office.
(B) The applicant for a disposal well permit under
this section shall include with the permit application a printed copy
or screenshot showing the results of a survey of information from
the United States Geological Survey (USGS) regarding the locations
of any historical seismic events within a circular area of 100 square
miles (a circle with a radius of 9.08 kilometers) centered around
the proposed disposal well location.
(C) The commission may require an applicant for a disposal
well permit under this section to provide the commission with additional
information such as logs, geologic cross-sections, pressure front
boundary calculations, and/or structure maps, to demonstrate that
fluids will be confined if the well is to be located in an area where
conditions exist that may increase the risk that fluids will not be
confined to the injection interval. Such conditions may include, but
are not limited to, complex geology, proximity of the basement rock
to the injection interval, transmissive faults, and/or a history of
seismic events in the area as demonstrated by information available
from the USGS.
(4) Commercial disposal well. An applicant for a permit
to dispose of oil and gas waste in a commercial disposal well shall
clearly indicate on the application and in the published notice of
application that the application is for a commercial disposal well
permit. For the purposes of this rule, "commercial disposal well"
means a well whose owner or operator receives compensation from others
for the disposal of oil field fluids or oil and gas wastes that are
wholly or partially trucked or hauled to the well, and the primary
business purpose for the well is to provide these services for compensation.
(5) Notice and opportunity for hearing.
(A) The applicant shall give notice by mailing or delivering
a copy of the application to affected persons who include the owner
of record of the surface tract on which the well is located; each
commission-designated operator of any well located within one-half
mile of the proposed disposal well; the county clerk of the county
in which the well is located; and the city clerk or other appropriate
city official of any city where the well is located within the municipal
boundaries of the city, on or before the date the application is mailed
to or filed with the commission. For the purposes of this section,
the term "of record" means recorded in the real property or probate
records of the county in which the property is located.
(B) In addition to the requirements of subsection (a)(5)(A)
of this section, a commercial disposal well permit applicant shall
give notice to owners of record of each surface tract that adjoins
the proposed disposal tract by mailing or delivering a copy of the
application to each such surface owner.
(C) If, in connection with a particular application,
the commission or its delegate determines that another class of persons
should receive notice of the application, the commission or its delegate
may require the applicant to mail or deliver a copy of the application
to members of that class. Such classes of persons could include adjacent
surface owners or underground water districts.
(D) In order to give notice to other local governments,
interested, or affected persons, notice of the application shall be
published once by the applicant in a newspaper of general circulation
for the county where the well will be located in a form approved by
the commission or its delegate. The applicant shall file with the
commission in Austin proof of publication prior to the hearing or
(E) Protested applications:
(i) If a protest from an affected person or local government
is made to the commission within 15 days of receipt of the application
or of publication, whichever is later, or if the commission or its
delegate determines that a hearing is in the public interest, then
a hearing will be held on the application after the commission provides
notice of hearing to all affected persons, local governments, or other
persons, who express an interest, in writing, in the application.
(ii) For purposes of this section, "affected person"
means a person who has suffered or will suffer actual injury or economic
damage other than as a member of the general public or as a competitor,
and includes surface owners of property on which the well is located
and commission-designated operators of wells located within one-half
mile of the proposed disposal well.
(F) If no protest from an affected person is received
by the commission, the commission's delegate may administratively
approve the application. If the commission's delegate denies administrative
approval, the applicant shall have a right to a hearing upon request.
After hearing, the examiner shall recommend a final action by the
(6) Subsequent commission action.
(A) A permit for saltwater or other oil and gas waste
disposal may be modified, suspended, or terminated by the commission
for just cause after notice and opportunity for hearing, if:
(i) a material change of conditions occurs in the operation
or completion of the disposal well, or there are material changes
in the information originally furnished;
(ii) freshwater is likely to be polluted as a result
of continued operation of the well;
(iii) there are substantial violations of the terms
and provisions of the permit or of commission rules;
(iv) the applicant has misrepresented any material
facts during the permit issuance process;
(v) injected fluids are escaping from the permitted
(vi) injection is likely to be or determined to be
contributing to seismic activity; or
(vii) waste of oil, gas, or geothermal resources is
occurring or is likely to occur as a result of the permitted operations.
(B) A disposal well permit may be transferred from
one operator to another operator provided that the commission's delegate
does not notify the present permit holder of an objection to the transfer
prior to the date the lease is transferred on Commission records.
(C) Voluntary permit suspension.
(i) An operator may apply to temporarily suspend its
injection authority by filing a written request for permit suspension
with the commission in Austin, and attaching to the written request
the results of an MIT test performed during the previous three-month
period in accordance with the provisions of paragraph (12)(D) of this
section. The provisions of this subparagraph shall not apply to any
well that is permitted as a commercial disposal well.
(ii) The commission or its delegate may grant the permit
suspension upon determining that the results of the MIT test submitted
under clause (i) of this subparagraph indicate that the well meets
the performance standards of paragraph (12)(D) of this section.
(iii) During the period of permit suspension, the operator
shall not use the well for injection or disposal purposes.
(iv) During the period of permit suspension, the operator
shall comply with all applicable well testing requirements of §3.14
of this title (relating to plugging, and commonly referred to as Statewide
Rule 14) but need not perform the MIT test that would otherwise be
required under the provisions of paragraph (12)(D) of this section
or the permit. Further, during the period of permit suspension, the
provisions of paragraph (11)(A) - (C) of this section shall not apply.
(v) The operator may reinstate injection authority
under a suspended permit by filing a written notification with the
commission in Austin. The written notification shall be accompanied
by an MIT test performed during the three-month period prior to the
date notice of reinstatement is filed. The MIT test shall have been
performed in accordance with the provisions and standards of paragraph
(12)(D) of this section.
(7) Area of Review.
(A) Except as otherwise provided in this paragraph,
the applicant shall review the date of public record for wells that
penetrate the proposed disposal zone within a 1/4 mile radius of the
proposed disposal well to determine if all abandoned wells have been
plugged in a manner that will prevent the movement of fluids from
the disposal zone into freshwater strata. The applicant shall identify
in the application any wells which appear from such review of public
records to be unplugged or improperly plugged and any other unplugged
or improperly plugged wells of which the applicant has actual knowledge.
(B) The commission or its delegate may grant a variance
from the area-of-review requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph
upon proof that the variance will not result in a material increase
in the risk of fluid movement into freshwater strata or to the surface.
Such a variance may be granted for an area defined both vertically
and laterally (such as a field) or for an individual well. An application
for an areal variance need not be filed in conjunction with an individual
permit application or application for permit amendment. Factors that
may be considered by the commission or its delegate in granting a
(i) the area affected by pressure increases resulting
from injection operations;
(ii) the presence of local geological conditions that
preclude movement of fluid that could endanger freshwater strata or
the surface; or
(iii) other compelling evidence that the variance will
not result in a material increase in the risk of fluid movement into
freshwater strata or to the surface.
(C) Persons applying for a variance from the area-of-review
requirements of subparagraph (A) of this paragraph on the basis of
factors set out in subparagraph (B)(ii) or (iii) of this paragraph
for an individual well shall provide notice of the application to
those persons given notice under the provisions of paragraph (5)(A)
of this subsection. The provisions of paragraph (5)(D) and (E) shall
apply in the case of an application for a variance from the area-of-review
requirements for an individual well.
(D) Notice of an application for an areal variance
from the area-of-review requirements under subparagraph (A) of this
paragraph shall be given on or before the date the application is
filed with the commission:
(i) by publication once in a newspaper having general
circulation in each county, or portion thereof, where the variance
would apply. Such notice shall be in a form approved by the commission
or its delegate prior to publication and must be at least three inches
by five inches in size. The notice shall state that protests to the
application may be filed with the commission during the 15-day period
following the date of publication. The notice shall appear in a section
of the newspaper containing state or local news items;
(ii) by mailing or delivering a copy of the application,
along with a statement that any protest to the application should
be filed with the commission within 15 days of the date of the application
is filed with the commission, to the following:
(I) the manager of each underground water conservation
district(s) in which the variance would apply, if any;
(II) the city clerk or other appropriate official of
each incorporated city in which the variance would apply, if any;
(III) the county clerk of each county in which the
variance would apply; and