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TITLE 16ECONOMIC REGULATION
PART 1RAILROAD COMMISSION OF TEXAS
CHAPTER 3OIL AND GAS DIVISION
RULE §3.8Water Protection

        (II) the dimensions and maximum capacity of the pit; and

        (III) a signed statement that the operator has written permission from the surface owner of the tract upon which the pit is located for construction and use of the pit for such purpose.

      (vii) Equipment, machinery, waste, or other materials that could reasonably be expected to puncture, tear, or otherwise compromise the integrity of the liner shall not be used or placed in lined pits.

      (viii) The pit shall be inspected periodically by the operator for compliance with the applicable provisions of this section.

    (H) Backfill requirements.

      (i) A person who maintains or uses a reserve pit, mud circulation pit, fresh makeup water pit, fresh mining water pit, completion/workover pit, basic sediment pit, flare pit, non-commercial fluid recycling pit, or water condensate pit shall dewater, backfill, and compact the pit according to the following schedule.

        (I) Reserve pits and mud circulation pits which contain fluids with a chloride concentration of 6,100 mg/liter or less and fresh makeup water pits shall be dewatered, backfilled, and compacted within one year of cessation of drilling operations.

        (II) Reserve pits and mud circulation pits which contain fluids with a chloride concentration in excess of 6,100 mg/liter shall be dewatered within 30 days and backfilled and compacted within one year of cessation of drilling operations.

        (III) All completion/workover pits used when completing a well shall be dewatered within 30 days and backfilled and compacted within 120 days of well completion. All completion/workover pits used when working over a well shall be dewatered within 30 days and backfilled and compacted within 120 days of completion of workover operations.

        (IV) Basic sediment pits, flare pits, fresh mining water pits, non-commercial fluid recycling pits, and water condensate pits shall be dewatered, backfilled, and compacted within 120 days of final cessation of use of the pits.

        (V) If a person constructs a sectioned reserve pit, each section of the pit shall be considered a separate pit for determining when a particular section should be dewatered.

      (ii) A person who maintains or uses a reserve pit, mud circulation pit, fresh makeup water pit, non-commercial fluid recycling pit, or completion/workover pit shall remain responsible for dewatering, backfilling, and compacting the pit within the time prescribed by clause (i) of this subparagraph, even if the time allowed for backfilling the pit extends beyond the expiration date or transfer date of the lease covering the land where the pit is located.

      (iii) The director may require that a person who uses or maintains a reserve pit, mud circulation pit, fresh makeup water pit, fresh mining water pit, completion/workover pit, basic sediment pit, flare pit, non-commercial fluid recycling pit, or water condensate pit backfill the pit sooner than the time prescribed by clause (i) of this subparagraph if the director determines that oil and gas wastes or oil field fluids are likely to escape from the pit or that the pit is being used for improper storage or disposal of oil and gas wastes or oil field fluids.

      (iv) Prior to backfilling any reserve pit, mud circulation pit, completion/workover pit, basic sediment pit, flare pit, non-commercial fluid recycling pit, or water condensate pit whose use or maintenance is authorized by this paragraph, the person maintaining or using the pit shall, in a permitted manner or in a manner authorized by paragraph (3) of this subsection, dispose of all oil and gas wastes which are in the pit.

        (I) Unless otherwise approved by the district director after a showing that the fluids will be confined in the pit at all times, all authorized pits shall be constructed, used, operated, and maintained at all times outside of a 100-year flood plain as that term is defined in subsection (a) of this section. The operator may request a hearing if the district director denies approval of the request to construct a pit within a 100-year flood plain.

        (II) In the event of an unauthorized discharge from any pit authorized by this paragraph, the operator shall take any measures necessary to stop or control the discharge and report the discharge to the district office as soon as possible.

  (5) Responsibility for disposal.

    (A) Permit required. No generator or receiver may knowingly utilize the services of a carrier to transport oil and gas wastes if the carrier is required by this rule to have a permit to transport such wastes but does not have such a permit. No carrier may knowingly utilize the services of a second carrier to transport oil and gas wastes if the second carrier is required by this rule to have a permit to transport such wastes but does not have such a permit. No generator or carrier may knowingly utilize the services of a receiver to store, handle, treat, reclaim, or dispose of oil and gas wastes if the receiver is required by statute or commission rule to have a permit to store, handle, treat, reclaim, or dispose of such wastes but does not have such a permit. No receiver may knowingly utilize the services of a second receiver to store, handle, treat, reclaim, or dispose of oil and gas wastes if the second receiver is required by statute or commission rule to have a permit to store, handle, treat, reclaim, or dispose of such wastes but does not have such a permit. Any person who plans to utilize the services of a carrier or receiver is under a duty to determine that the carrier or receiver has all permits required by the Oil and Gas Division to transport, store, handle, treat, reclaim, or dispose of oil and gas wastes.

    (B) Improper disposal prohibited. No generator, carrier, receiver, or any other person may improperly dispose of oil and gas wastes or cause or allow the improper disposal of oil and gas wastes. A generator causes or allows the improper disposal of oil and gas wastes if:

      (i) the generator utilizes the services of a carrier or receiver who improperly disposes of the wastes; and

      (ii) the generator knew or reasonably should have known that the carrier or receiver was likely to improperly dispose of the wastes and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the improper disposal.

  (6) Permits.

    (A) Standards for permit issuance. A permit to maintain or use a pit for storage of oil field fluids or oil and gas wastes may only be issued if the commission determines that the maintenance or use of such pit will not result in the waste of oil, gas, or geothermal resources or the pollution of surface or subsurface waters. A permit to dispose of oil and gas wastes by any method, including disposal into a pit, may only be issued if the commission determines that the disposal will not result in the waste of oil, gas, or geothermal resources or the pollution of surface or subsurface water. A permit to maintain or use any unlined brine mining pit or any unlined pit, other than an emergency saltwater storage pit, for storage or disposal of oil field brines, geothermal resource waters, or other mineralized waters may only be issued if the commission determines that the applicant has conclusively shown that use of the pit cannot cause pollution of surrounding productive agricultural land nor pollution of surface or subsurface water, either because there is no surface or subsurface water in the area of the pit, or because the surface or subsurface water in the area of the pit would be physically isolated by naturally occurring impervious barriers from any oil and gas wastes which might escape or migrate from the pit. Permits issued pursuant to this paragraph will contain conditions reasonably necessary to prevent the waste of oil, gas, or geothermal resources and the pollution of surface and subsurface waters. A permit to maintain or use a pit will state the conditions under which the pit may be operated, including the conditions under which the permittee shall be required to dewater, backfill, and compact the pit. Any permits issued pursuant to this paragraph may contain requirements concerning the design and construction of pits and disposal facilities, including requirements relating to pit construction materials, dike design, liner material, liner thickness, procedures for installing liners, schedules for inspecting and/or replacing liners, overflow warning devices, leak detection devices, and fences. However, a permit to maintain or use any lined brine mining pit or any lined pit for storage or disposal of oil field brines, geothermal resource waters, or other mineralized waters will contain requirements relating to liner material, liner thickness, procedures for installing liners, and schedules for inspecting and/or replacing liners.

    (B) Application. An application for a permit to maintain or use a pit or to dispose of oil and gas wastes shall be filed with the commission in Austin. The applicant shall mail or deliver a copy of the application to the appropriate district office on the same day the original application is mailed or delivered to the commission in Austin. A permit application shall be considered filed with the commission on the date it is received by the commission in Austin. When a commission-prescribed application form exists, an applicant shall make application on the prescribed form according to the instructions on such form. The director may require the applicant to provide the commission with engineering, geological, or other information which the director deems necessary to show that issuance of the permit will not result in the waste of oil, gas, or geothermal resources or the pollution of surface or subsurface water.

    (C) Notice. The applicant shall give notice of the permit application to the surface owners of the tract upon which the pit will be located or upon which the disposal will take place. When the tract upon which the pit will be located or upon which the disposal will take place lies within the corporate limits of an incorporated city, town, or village, the applicant shall also give notice to the city clerk or other appropriate official. Where disposal is to be by discharge into a watercourse other than the Gulf of Mexico or a bay, the applicant shall also give notice to the surface owners of each waterfront tract between the discharge point and 1/2 mile downstream of the discharge point except for those waterfront tracts within the corporate limits of an incorporated city, town, or village. When one or more waterfront tracts within 1/2 mile of the discharge point lie within the corporate limits of an incorporated city, town, or village, the applicant shall give notice to the city clerk or other appropriate official. Notice of the permit application shall consist of a copy of the application together with a statement that any protest to the application should be filed with the commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed with the commission. The applicant shall mail or deliver the required notice to the surface owners and the city clerk or other appropriate official on or before the date the application is mailed or delivered to the commission in Austin. If, in connection with a particular application, the director determines that another class of persons, such as offset operators, adjacent surface owners, or an appropriate river authority, should receive notice of the application, the director may require the applicant to mail or deliver notice to members of that class. If the director determines that, after diligent efforts, the applicant has been unable to ascertain the name and address of one or more persons required by this subparagraph to be notified, then the director may authorize the applicant to notify such persons by publishing notice of the application. The director shall determine the form of the notice to be published. The notice shall be published once each week for two consecutive weeks by the applicant in a newspaper of general circulation in the county where the pit will be located or the disposal will take place. The applicant shall file proof of publication with the commission in Austin. The director will consider the applicant to have made diligent efforts to ascertain the names and addresses of surface owners required by this subparagraph to be notified if the applicant has examined the current county tax rolls and investigated other reliable and readily available sources of information.

    (D) Protests and hearings. If a protest from an affected person is made to the commission within 15 days of the date the application is filed, then a hearing shall be held on the application after the applicant requests a hearing. If the director has reason to believe that a person entitled to notice of an application has not received such notice within 15 days of the date an application is filed with the commission, then the director shall not take action on the application until reasonable efforts have been made to give such person notice of the application and an opportunity to file a protest to the application. If the director determines that a hearing is in the public interest, a hearing shall be held. A hearing on an application shall be held after the commission provides notice of hearing to all affected persons, or other persons or governmental entities who express an interest in the application in writing. If no protest from an affected person is received by the commission, the director may administratively approve the application. If the director denies administrative approval, the applicant shall have a right to a hearing upon request. After hearing, the hearings examiner shall recommend a final action by the commission.

    (E) Modification, suspension, and termination. A permit granted pursuant to this subsection, may be modified, suspended, or terminated by the commission for good cause after notice and opportunity for hearing. A finding of any of the following facts shall constitute good cause:

Cont'd...

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