The 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)]. These rules state that RRC may modify, suspend, or terminate an injection permit to dispose of waste for just cause after notice and opportunity for hearing, if injection is likely to be or determined to be contributing to seismic activity.
Gardendale - September 2021
Between February 2020 and September 2021, 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 RRC staff’s analysis of available information has determined that SWD well injection likely contributes to seismic activity in the Gardendale SRA. Therefore, in September 2021, the RRC requested that operators in the Gardendale SRA reduce SWD activity as a means of altering the conditions contributing to seismic activity. Further, the RRC requested SWD wells that have been permitted but are not in service (not drilled, or not completed for or currently capable of injection), do not begin or return to fluid injection, and RRC will not administratively approve a permit for SWD within the Gardendale SRA. RRC anticipates these procedures to be in place for at least a year from initiation. To communicate these changes, operators of SWD wells within the Gardendale SRA were sent letters and a Notice to Oil and Gas Operators was issued.
You can view the Gardendale SRA, SWD wells and land surveys within the SRA using the following documents:
- Map of the Gardendale SRA
- List of the SWD wells in the Gardendale SRA
- List of surveys in the Gardendale SRA
Daily injection well volume and pressure reporting required in the Gardendale SRA should be done using the following spreadsheet: