Notice to Oil and Gas Operators: Gardendale Seismic Response Action

September 24, 2021

Since February 2020, six felt earthquakes of magnitude (M) 3.5 or greater have occurred in an area of the Midland Basin from northeast Ector County to southwest Martin County known as the Gardendale Seismic Response Area (SRA). These included a M 3.7 earthquake in southwestern Martin County, about eight miles northwest of Midland, on September 7, 2021, and two M 3.6 earthquakes northeast of Odessa in February 2020 and May 2021.   

The Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) has authority to regulate Saltwater Disposal (SWD) well activity and may exercise that authority to address seismic activity [see 16 Texas Administrative Code §3.9 (6)(A)(vi) and §3.46 (d)(1)(f)]. The RRC staff’s analysis of available information has determined that SWD injection likely contributes to seismic activity in the Gardendale SRA. Therefore, the RRC has requested that operators in the Gardendale SRA reduce SWD activity as a means of altering conditions likely contributing to seismic activity. The RRC anticipates these procedures to be in place for at least a year from initiation. The RRC has identified 76 permitted SWD wells in the Gardendale SRA and the operators of those wells are being notified in writing of this request.   

To view the full notice, visit the RRC website at