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Surface Waste Management Manual

Application for a Permit to Discharge Produced Water to Inland Waters

Application should be made by letter of request, there is no application form. You may number your responses to correspond to the requests for information outlined below. The application must contain this information before it can be processed.

  1. Operator name, address and telephone number. Note that unless otherwise specified in an application, the permit and correspondence will only be mailed to the operator’s P-5 address.
  2. Identify the county, field(s), lease name(s), lease number(s), and well number(s) producing the water to be discharged. Include any wells that are currently shut in, but may contribute to the discharge sometime in the future. 
  3. Include a list of the average and estimated maximum water production rates (bbl/day) on a well-by-well basis. Also indicate whether you believe the maximum produced water rate will increase, and if so, to what rate. Any discharge permit issued may contain a discharge rate restriction. 
  4. Include a drawing and description of the treatment the produced water will receive before being discharged. Indicate the size of tanks and/or pits and show any special piping, baffles, weirs, etc. inside tanks or pits to minimize turbulence, control oil carry over, control water level, etc. Include a copy of any technical data available from the manufacturer on any equipment used to treat the water. 
  5. Pits associated with oil and gas activities are required to be permitted unless they are authorized by Statewide Rule 8(d)(4). If any pits are used to treat or contain the water prior to discharge, please advise of the use and size of each pit. Include permit numbers for all permitted pits. 
  6. List any chemicals that are in use or will be used to treat the water or oil, the purpose for using the chemicals, and the concentrations used. Attach a copy of the manufacturers brochure and the material safety data sheets for each chemical.
  7. A representative sample of the produced water you wish to discharge must be analyzed as outlined in the attached document entitled "Produced Water Analysis". If you have any reason to believe any analyzed contaminant will increase or decrease in concentration during the time you wish to discharge, you must advise us of which contaminant, whether the concentration of the contaminant will increase or decrease, and the extent, if known, of the expected increase or decrease.
  8. Please indicate the latitude - longitude coordinates to the nearest second for the discharge point, the treatment facility, and each wellhead associated with this discharge. If the latitude - longitude coordinates are not readily available, a complete original U.S. Geological Survey 7 1/2 minute quadrangle map of the area may be submitted with the exact location of each well, the treatment facility, and the discharge point clearly marked. 
  9. Indicate on a county highway map, or include on the U.S.G.S. map above, the location of the treatment facility, the proposed discharge point, and the route the discharged water will take to the nearest watercourse (creek or river). If the water is to be used for livestock or irrigation, indicate how the water will reach the ultimate point of disposal. A letter from the surface owner must be included stating he wants and has a need for the water or that he does not object to the water being disposed of on his property.
  10. If disposal is by discharge into a watercourse, Rule 8(d)(6)(C) requires an applicant for a discharge permit must give proper notice to the surface owner at the point of discharge and to the surface owner of each waterfront tract between the discharge point and 1/2 mile downstream of the discharge point. If any of these water front tracts are within an incorporated city, town, or village, then notice shall be given to the city clerk. Notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the Commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the Commission. The applicant shall mail or deliver the required notice to the surface owners on or before the date the application is mailed or delivered to the Commission in Austin. After giving the required notice, you must file with the Commission a statement setting out the names and addresses of persons notified and the dates they were notified, and stating the listed persons are all the persons required by Rule 8 to be notified. 
  11. In the event produced water is delivered into a flood control ditch or similar waterway, written permission must be filed with the Commission from the authority having jurisdiction. 
  12. There is a $300 nonrefundable application fee for a permit to discharge oil and gas waste to surface waters of the state. EFFCTIVE MAY 1, 2012, A SURCHARE OF 150% HAS BEEN IMPOSED ON THE APPLICATION FEE to implement the provisions of Senate Bill 1 (82 nd Legislature, First Called Session, 2011), which mandated the Commission to impose reasonable surcharges on Commission fees. Accordingly, for applications received on or after May 1, 2012, the total application fee will now be $750. If the discharged water will not reach surface waters of the State or the discharge point is west of the 98th meridian and the water is for agriculture or wildlife use, the fee is not required. If the fee is applicable, checks or money orders should be made payable to "Railroad Commission of Texas". Please do not send cash through the mail. This fee is an application fee and is not refundable even if your application is returned, withdrawn, or denied. If the fee is not applicable, a statement indicating the reason the fee does not apply to your application must be provided. 
  13. Please provide a statement as to whether the water is for agricultural or wildlife use.
  14. You must certify the application as follows:

"I certify that I am authorized to make this application, that this application was prepared by me or under my supervision and direction, and that the data and facts stated herein are true, correct, and complete to the best of my knowledge.

The application and any attachments should be mailed to:

Railroad Commission of Texas 
Oil and Gas Division 
Technical Permitting 
P. O. Box 12967 
Austin, TX 78711-2967

Send a copy of the application and any attachments to the appropriate District Office.

Before any permit may be issued, the operator must have an Organization (Form P-5) on file with the Austin Office of the Commission.

If your facility is east of the 98th meridian, a permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) may be required for a discharge to surface waters under the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES). Contact EPA Region 6 ( in Dallas for more information.


An application for a permit to discharge produced water must contain an analysis of the water to be discharged. The parameters listed below must be reported. Samples must be representative of the discharged water. Analysis must be performed according to procedures approved in 40 CFR Part 136 ( and, where applicable, samples must be preserved as specified by these procedures. The procedures used to preserve the samples and the analytical methods used must be reported. All parameters should be reported in milligrams/liter unless otherwise specified.

Temperature (°F) Parameter MAL(mg/l)
pH (standard units) Aluminum 0.03
Dissolved Oxygen Arsenic 0.01
Hardness (mg/l as CaCO3) Barium 0.01
Total Suspended Solids Benzene 0.01
Total Dissolved Solids Cadmium 0.001
Chlorides Chromium 0.01
Sulfates Hexavalent Chromium 0.01
Sulfides Copper 0.01
Ammonia Nitrogen Cyanide 0.02
Calcium Lead 0.005
Magnesium Mercury 0.0002
Sodium Nickel 0.01
Potassium Selenium 0.01
Iron Silver 0.002
Manganese Zinc 0.005
Oil & Grease    
Total Organic Carbon    

*** These toxic pollutants have numerical criteria specified in the Texas Surface Water Quality Standards and may be present in some gas plant wastewater. Toxic pollutant concentrations above the specified minimum analytical limit (MAL) must be reported. If the laboratory, using acceptable analytical practices, cannot report concentrations down to the specified level due to reasons such as matrix interference, a statement to that effect from the laboratory must be submitted with the results. Also, the MAL achieved by the laboratory for each toxic pollutant must be reported.

Last Updated: 7/20/2015 10:32:20 PM