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Water: Class V Wells

Minimum Requirements for Class V Wells

Additional Requirements

There are additional requirements for the following wells:

Please refer to the appropriate Web pages above for the requirements on these types of wells.

This page has information on the basic (minimum) requirements for owners or operators of Class V wells.

EPA established minimum requirements to prevent injection wells from contaminating underground sources of drinking water (USDWs). Operators must:

  1. Submit inventory information to their permitting authority and verify that they are authorized (allowed) to inject. The permitting authority will review the information to be sure that the well will not endanger a USDW.
  2. Operate the wells in a way that does not endanger USDWs. The permitting authority will explain any specific requirements.
  3. Properly close their Class V well when it is no longer being used. The well should be closed in a way that prevents movement of any contaminated fluids into USDWs.

What should I do before I begin injecting?

If you plan to construct a new Class V well, your first step is to submit inventory information about the well to the UIC Program. You may not construct an new large-capacity cesspool or motor vehicle waste disposal well; new wells of these types are banned. The information you need to submit may vary depending on the state you are in, but in general you must provide the following basic information:

  • The name and location of the facility
  • The name and address of a legal contact
  • Who owns the property
  • Nature and type of injection well(s) and
  • Operating status of injection well(s).

If you have recently discovered that you have an existing Class V well, you should stop using the well immediately and contact your permitting authority to find out what you must do. In some cases, you will need to submit an inventory form and you may have to wait 90 days to allow the UIC program to authorize your well, after which you may continue using it (unless you are told otherwise).

Specific requirements may vary from state to state. See the table below for information about what to do in your state.

If you live in... Wells in your state are overseen by... If you plan to construct a new well... If you already have a Class V well...
Alaska, American Samoa, Any Indian Country, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Washington, DC EPA’s regional office Contact the permitting authority before you begin construction Submit an inventory form Stop using the well and contact the regional office Submit an inventory form Resume injection after 90 days, unless you are told otherwise
Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, North Carolina, Northern Mariana Islands, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming A state agency Contact the permitting authority about what you need to do Submit inventory information Contact the agency program about what you need to do

The following links will lead you to the UIC inventory forms and the name and contact information for the UIC permitting authority in your area.

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What happens after I submit the inventory information?

Based on the information on the inventory form, the UIC Program will do one of the following:

Determine that you are authorized to inject.
Some wells are considered to be “authorized by rule” if the owner or operator meets certain requirements. To become rule authorized, the owner or operator of the well must, at a minimum submit basic inventory information and not endanger USDWs. The authorization expires once when the well is properly closed.

Request additional information.
The UIC Program director may need some additional information to determine if the well may be endangering USDWs. If so, the director will send you a letter explaining what information they need and why they are asking for it.

Require you to obtain a permit.
If the UIC director is concerned that your well will endanger USDWs, you may be required to obtain a permit. The permit would include specific conditions you must meet to ensure your well does not endanger USDWs. The permit may require you to monitor the fluids that go into the well, implement "best management practices," and report on this information to the authority.

Require you to close the well.
If the UIC Program director determines that your well is endangering a USDW, you will be required to close the well. See the sections below for additional information about closing Class V wells.

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Are there additional regulations for large-capacity cesspools and motor vehicle waste disposal wells?

In 1999, EPA added new regulations for these types of Class V wells. The new regulations, collectively known as the Class V Rule, help protect ground water from the fluids that are injected into these wells.

New large-capacity cesspools were prohibited nationwide as of April 2000, phasing out existing cesspools nationwide by April 2005. New motor vehicle waste disposal wells also were prohibited nationwide as of April 2000. Operators of existing motor vehicle wells in regulated areas must either close their well or obtain a permit. Owners and operators of large-capacity cesspools and motor vehicle waste disposal wells can read more about specific requirements by clicking on the links provided below.

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When would I be prohibited from using my well?

You may not inject fluids into a well under any of the following conditions:

  • You endanger USDWs
  • You fail to submit inventory information to your UIC Program
  • You fail to submit a permit application (if the UIC Program tells you to do so)
  • You fail to respond to a written request from your UIC Program
  • You own or operate a large-capacity cesspool or a motor vehicle waste disposal well that was constructed after April 5, 2000
  • Your injection well does not comply with the new requirements for motor vehicle waste disposal wells.
  • Your well is a large-capacity cesspool (these wells are banned).

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How do I close my well?

You may close your well when you are finished using it or if your UIC Program requires you to close it. The well must be closed in a way that prevents any contaminated fluids from moving into USDWs during or after closure. This is because any fluids that move into a USDW, could endanger the health of the people who drink the water.

When closing the well you must:

  • Permanently plug or otherwise close the well in a way that ensures USDWs are protected.
  • Dispose of or manage any soil, gravel, sludge, liquids, or other materials from or near your well according to all federal, state, and local requirements.
  • Follow any other requirements your UIC Program may have. Contact your permitting authority to determine how to best close your well.
    • Find the permitting authority your state here.

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