Public Meeting Scheduled to Discuss
Proposed Underground Injection Wells
The state Department of Environmental Protection and US Environmental Protection Agency are hosting the meeting, which starts at 6 p.m.
The two proposed wells in Columbus Township would be authorized to inject fluids produced in association with oil- and gas-production activities. These fluids may be made up mostly of fresh water or could contain elevated levels of chlorides called “brine.”
The fluids would be pumped back into geologic formations that are able to handle such fluids. There is no discharge from a UIC well onto the land surface or into nearby surface waterways.
After brief presentations explaining their roles in permitting Underground Injection Control wells, representatives from DEP and EPA will be available to answer questions. “This is an opportunity for area residents to talk to both our staff and EPA about the roles we each play in the process,” DEP Northwest Regional Director Kelly Burch said. “The people of Bear Lake asked for an opportunity to meet with us to get answers to their questions, and we want to ensure the process is transparent.”
To operate an injection well, a UIC permit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a Change of Use permit from DEP are necessary. The UIC permits are issued under the authority of the Safe Drinking Water Act and the Underground Injection Control Program. The wells are classified as Class II D for the disposal of oil- and gas-related fluids.
The primary objective of the UIC program is to protect underground sources of drinking water, meaning aquifers used for drinking water now or that may be used in the future, from potential endangerment from injection operations. The regulations have numerous technical requirements built in to ensure the wells are properly constructed and continuously monitored so that groundwater is protected.