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Water: Underground Injection Control

Regulations


Visit the Class V Regulations page for additional materials of interest to operators of Class V wells.

The federal regulations for the UIC Program are found in Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations. The Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) establishes requirements and provisions for the UIC Program. This page describes the minimum federal requirements for injection operations and the sections of the SDWA that address injection.


Federal UIC Regulations

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Safe Drinking Water Act/UIC Provisions

Congress passed the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in 1974. In part, the SDWA requires EPA to develop minimum federal requirements for UIC programs and other safeguards to protect public health by preventing injection wells from contaminating underground sources of drinking water (USDWs).

Several sections of the SDWA address injection activities, as described below.

 
Section No. Description
1421 Identifies the minimum requirements states must meet to be granted primary enforcement authority (primacy) for the UIC Program. This section also addresses how underground injection can endanger USDWs.
1422 Outlines the process for state primacy applications. This section provides application timelines and public participation requirements for states seeking primacy. If a state does not assume primacy, EPA runs the UIC program in that state. This section also specifies how tribes may apply for primacy.
1423 Sets forth enforcement of the UIC program. This section describes civil and criminal actions, including the amount of any penalty levied.
1425 Describes optional demonstrations a state may make for the portion of the UIC program relating to oil and natural gas operations. This section allows EPA to approve existing state Class II (oil and gas) programs if the state can show that the program is effective in preventing endangerment of USDWs.
1426 Requires the EPA Administrator to determine the applicability of monitoring methods and to submit a report to Congress on Class V wells. The Report to Congress includes information on Class V well inventory, well types, design and construction recommendations, and risks associated with discharged wastes.
1431 Authorizes emergency powers for EPA. Under this section, EPA may take action to protect public health if substantial endangerment of USDWs is imminent.
1442 Gives EPA authority to conduct research, studies, training, and demonstrations. This section addresses ways to identify improved methods for protecting USDWs.
1443 Establishes grants for primacy programs. Each year, states receive EPA funding under this section to help them implement their UIC programs. Information about UIC grants is available on the Grants page.

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