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RULE §331.165Waste Disposal Operating Requirements

(a) General operating requirements.

  (1) Injection pressure at the wellhead shall not exceed a maximum, which shall be calculated, so as to assure that the pressure in the cavern during injection does not disrupt the bond between the salt, cement, and the casing seat, initiate new fractures or propagate existing fractures in the cavern or the confining zone, or cause movement of fluid or waste out of the injection zone.

  (2) Injection between the outermost casing protecting underground sources of drinking water (USDWs), and fresh or surface water and the wellbore is prohibited.

  (3) The annulus between the outer tubing and long string casing shall be filled with an inert gas approved by the commission. The annulus pressure, at all times that the well is in service, shall be at least 100 pounds per square inch greater than the injection tubing pressure, to detect well malfunctions, unless the executive director determines that such a requirement might harm the integrity of the well.

  (4) Chemical and physical characteristics of all injected materials and cavern contents, including but not limited to, bulk density and compressive strength of solidified waste, shall protect and be compatible with the injection well, associated facilities, and injection zone, and shall ensure proper operation of the facility to meet the performance standard of §331.162 of this title (relating to Performance Standard). In addition, after cavern construction is certified and a cavern is authorized to receive wastes under §331.164(f) of this title (relating to Cavern Construction Standards), all injected materials and cavern contents shall not cause further dissolution of the cavern walls.

  (5) The waste stream shall be stabilized, prior to injection, to minimize the generation of fluids in the cavern.

  (6) All injection of waste into a salt cavern shall be performed through the inner of two removable tubings with a packer to seal the annulus between the outer tubing and long string casing, near the bottom of the long string casing.

  (7) Unauthorized releases of cavern contents to the atmosphere are prohibited.

  (8) The cavern will be operated so as to control the extent of the disturbed zone.

  (9) If an automatic alarm or shutdown is triggered, the owner or operator shall immediately investigate and identify as expeditiously as possible the cause of the alarm or shutoff. If, upon such investigation, the well or cavern appears to be lacking integrity, or if monitoring required under §331.166(c) of this title (relating to Monitoring and Testing Requirements) otherwise indicates that the well or cavern lacks integrity, the owner or operator shall:

    (A) immediately cease injection of waste unless authorized by the executive director to continue or resume injection;

    (B) take all necessary steps to determine the presence or absence of a leak; and

    (C) notify the executive director within 24 hours after the alarm or shutdown.

  (10) If the loss of integrity is discovered pursuant to paragraph (3) of this subsection or during periodic integrity testing, the owner or operator shall:

    (A) immediately cease injection of waste;

    (B) take all steps required to determine whether there may have been a release of wastes into any unauthorized zone;

    (C) notify the executive director within 24 hours after loss of mechanical integrity is discovered;

    (D) notify the executive director when injection can be expected to resume; and

    (E) restore and demonstrate well mechanical integrity and/or cavern integrity to the satisfaction of the executive director prior to resuming injection of waste.

  (11) Whenever the owner or operator obtains evidence that there may have been a release of injected wastes into an unauthorized zone:

    (A) the owner or operator shall immediately cease injection of waste, and:

      (i) notify the executive director within 24 hours of obtaining such evidence;

      (ii) take all necessary steps to identify and characterize the extent of any release;

      (iii) propose a remediation plan for executive director review and approval;

      (iv) comply with any remediation plan specified by the executive director;

      (v) implement any remediation plan approved by the executive director; and

      (vi) where such release is into a USDW or freshwater aquifer currently serving as a water supply, within 24 hours notify the local health department, place a notice in a newspaper of general circulation and notify by mail the adjacent landowners;

    (B) the executive director may allow the operator to resume injection prior to completing cleanup action if the owner or operator demonstrates that the injection operation will not endanger USDWs or freshwater aquifers.

  (12) Cavern contents shall not interfere with the set-up of any stabilized waste injected after the waste and solidifying agents have been mixed, but is injected while is still pumpable and has not set.

  (13) Waste emplacement must be performed in such a manner as to minimize gas or fluid entrapment, so that compaction of wastes does not disrupt the integrity of the cavern.

  (14) A salt cavern disposal well shall be operated in a manner which will not generate high temperatures that will result in nonattainment of the performance standard of §331.162 of this title.

  (15) All fluids purged from the cavern after emplacement of any waste shall be managed at a waste management facility pursuant to applicable state and federal regulations.

(b) Workovers.

  (1) The permittee shall notify the executive director before commencing any workover operation or corrective maintenance which involves taking the injection well out of service. The notification shall be in writing and shall include plans for the proposed work. The executive director may grant an exception of the prior written notification when immediate action is required. Approval by the executive director shall be obtained before the permittee may begin any workover operation or corrective maintenance that involves taking the well out of service. Pressure control equipment shall be installed and maintained during workovers which involve the removal of tubing.

  (2) Mechanical integrity of the well shall be demonstrated following any major operations which involve removal of the injection tubing, recompletions, or unseating of the packer.

(c) Temporary cessation of operations.

  (1) An owner or operator of a Class I salt cavern disposal well who ceases injection operations temporarily, may keep the well open provided he:

    (A) has received written authorization from the executive director; and

    (B) has described actions or procedures, satisfactory to the executive director, that the owner or operator will take to ensure that the well will not endanger USDWs, and fresh or surface water during the period of temporary disuse. These actions and procedures shall include compliance with the technical requirements applicable to active injection wells, including mechanical integrity, and monitoring, unless waived by the executive director.

  (2) The owner or operator of a well that has ceased operations for more than two years shall notify the executive director, in writing, 30 days prior to resuming operation of the well.

Source Note: The provisions of this §331.165 adopted to be effective June 22, 1992, 17 TexReg 4097; amended to be effective November 23, 2000, 25 TexReg 11433; amended to be effective August 16, 2012, 37 TexReg 6078

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