Railroad Commission’s Underground Injection Control Program Recognized in EPA Report

July 07, 2021

AUSTIN – In a new report, EPA Region 6 once again commended the Railroad Commission’s Underground Injection Control program for protecting underground sources of drinking water and controlling seismic activity.

RRC’s UIC program, which handles the most Class II injection well applications in the nation, carries out state and EPA-approved rules on permitting, construction, and testing of underground injection wells.

Injection wells are used to dispose of waste fluid from oil and gas operations, especially saltwater; for brine mining; for enhanced oil recovery, which prolongs the life of oil and gas fields; and for hydrocarbon storage. Injection wells are located in underground formations geologically isolated from aquifers that are sources of drinking water.

In his letter accompanying the report, EPA Region 6 Water Division Director Charles Maguire wrote:

The Railroad Commission continues to confront significant challenges in the program and has taken some innovative measures to address them in a year complicated by the Covid pandemic. We wish to thank you and your staff for your work in protecting underground sources of drinking water from underground injection activities under your authority. We appreciate the continued attention to issues related to permitting disposal wells in seismically active areas of the Permian Basin and the continued attention on problematic areas in East Texas resulting in a consistent system for evaluating seismic hazards near disposal wells and application of appropriate permitting conditions.

“We take a lot of pride in our UIC program, which is informed by the best available science to protect groundwater and control seismicity,” said Paul Dubois, RRC Assistant Director for Technical Permitting. “While we do like to be recognized for our efforts, we appreciate all critical feedback the EPA provides in its annual review of our program, which helps us to improve and better serve Texans.”

The full Fiscal Year 2020 EPA Region 6 End-of-Year Evaluation Railroad Commission of Texas Underground Injection Control Program is available on the RRC’s website.


About the Railroad Commission:
Our mission is to serve Texas by our stewardship of natural resources and the environment, our concern for personal and community safety, and our support of enhanced development and economic vitality for the benefit of Texans. The Commission has a long and proud history of service to both Texas and to the nation, including almost 100 years regulating the oil and gas industry. The Commission also has jurisdiction over alternative fuels safety, natural gas utilities, surface mining and intrastate pipelines. Established in 1891, the Railroad Commission of Texas is the oldest regulatory agency in the state. To learn more, please visit http://www.rrc.texas.gov/about-us/.