| (IV) any other person or persons that the commission
or its delegate determine should receive notice of the application.
(E) If a protest to an application for an areal variance
is made to the commission by an affected person, local government,
underground water conservation district, or other state agency within
15 days of receipt of the application or of publication, whichever
is later, or if the commission's delegate determines that a hearing
on the application is in the public interest, then a hearing will
be held on the application after the commission provides notice of
the hearing to all local governments, underground water conservation
districts, state agencies, or other persons, who express an interest,
in writing, in the application. If no protest from an affected person
is received by the commission, the commission's delegate may administratively
approve the application. If the application is denied administratively,
the person(s) filing the application shall have a right to hearing
upon request. After hearing, the examiner shall recommend a final
action by the commission.
(F) An areal variance granted under the provisions
of this paragraph may be modified, terminated, or suspended by the
commission after notice and opportunity for hearing is provided to
each person shown on commission records to operate an oil or gas lease
in the area in which the proposed modification, termination, or suspension
would apply. If a hearing on a proposal to modify, terminate, or suspend
an areal variance is held, any applications filed subsequent to the
date notice of hearing is given must include the area-of-review information
required under subparagraph (A) of this paragraph pending issuance
of a final order.
(8) Casing. Disposal wells shall be cased and the casing
cemented in compliance with §3.13 of this title (relating to
Casing, Cementing, Drilling, and Completion Requirements) in such
a manner that the injected fluids will not endanger oil, gas, geothermal
resources, or freshwater resources.
(9) Special equipment.
(A) Tubing and packer. Wells drilled or converted for
disposal shall be equipped with tubing set on a mechanical packer.
Packers shall be set no higher than 100 feet above the top of the
permitted interval. For purposes of this section, the term "tubing"
refers to a string of pipe through which injection may occur and which
is neither wholly nor partially cemented in place. A string of pipe
that is wholly or partially cemented in place is considered casing
for purposes of this section.
(B) Pressure valve. The wellhead shall be equipped
with a pressure observation valve on the tubing and for each annulus
of the well.
(C) Exceptions. The director may grant an exception
to any provision of this paragraph upon proof of good cause. If the
director denies an exception, the operator shall have a right to a
hearing upon request. After hearing, the examiner shall recommend
a final action by the commission.
(10) Well record. Within 30 days after the completion
or conversion of a disposal well, the operator shall file in duplicate
in the district office a complete record of the well on the appropriate
form which shows the current completion.
(11) Monitoring and reporting.
(A) The operator shall monitor the injection pressure
and injection rate of each disposal well on at least a monthly basis,
or on a more frequent basis as required by the commission under conditions
described in paragraph (3)(C) of this section.
(B) The results of the monitoring shall be reported
annually to the commission on the prescribed form, or on a more frequent
basis as required by the commission under conditions described in
paragraph (3)(C) of this section.
(C) All monitoring records shall be retained by the
operator for at least five years.
(D) The operator shall report to the appropriate District
Office within 24 hours any significant pressure changes or other monitoring
data indicating the presence of leaks in the well.
(A) Purpose. The mechanical integrity of a disposal
well shall be evaluated by conducting pressure tests to determine
whether the well tubing, packer, or casing have sufficient mechanical
integrity to meet the performance standards of this rule, or by alternative
testing methods under subparagraph (E) of this paragraph.
(B) Applicability. Mechanical integrity of each disposal
well shall be demonstrated in accordance with provisions of subparagraph
(D) and subparagraph (E) of this paragraph prior to initial use. In
addition, mechanical integrity shall be tested periodically thereafter
as described in subparagraph (C) of this paragraph.
(i) Each disposal well completed with surface casing
set and cemented through the entire interval of protected usable-quality
water shall be tested for mechanical integrity at least once every
(ii) In addition to testing required under clause (i),
each disposal well shall be tested for mechanical integrity after
every workover of the well.
(iii) A disposal well that is completed without surface
casing set and cemented through the entire interval of protected usable-quality
ground water shall be tested at the frequency prescribed in the disposal
(iv) The commission or its delegate may prescribe a
schedule and mail notification to operators to allow for orderly and
timely compliance with the requirements in clauses (i) and (ii) of
this subparagraph. Such testing schedule shall not apply to a disposal
well for which a disposal well permit has been issued but the well
has not been drilled or converted to disposal.
(D) Pressure tests.
(i) Test pressure.
(I) The test pressure for wells equipped to dispose
through tubing and packer shall equal the maximum authorized injection
pressure or 500 psig, whichever is less, but shall be at least 200
(II) The test pressure for wells that are permitted
for disposal through casing shall equal the maximum permitted injection
pressure or 200 psig, whichever is greater.
(ii) Pressure stabilization. The test pressure shall
stabilize within 10% of the test pressure required in clause (i) of
this subparagraph prior to commencement of the test.
(iii) Pressure differential. A pressure differential
of at least 200 psig shall be maintained between the test pressure
on the tubing-casing annulus and the tubing pressure.
(iv) Test duration. A pressure test shall be conducted
for a duration of 30 minutes when the test medium is liquid or for
60 minutes when the test medium is air or gas.
(v) Pressure recorder. Except for tests witnessed by
a commission representative or wells permitted for disposal through
casing, a pressure recorder shall be used to monitor and record the
tubing-casing annulus pressure during the test. The recorder clock
shall not exceed 24 hours. The recorder scale shall be set so that
the test pressure is 30 to 70% of full scale, unless otherwise authorized
by the commission or its delegate.
(vi) Test fluid.
(I) The tubing-casing annulus fluid used in a pressure
test shall be liquid for wells that inject liquid unless the commission
or its delegate authorizes the use of a different test fluid for good
(II) The tubing-casing annulus fluid used in a pressure
test shall contain no additives that may affect the sensitivity or
otherwise reduce the effectiveness of the test.
(vii) Pressure test results. The commission or its
delegate will consider, in evaluating the results of a test, the level
of pollution risk that loss of well integrity would cause. Factors
that may be taken into account in assessing pollution risk include
injection pressure, frequency of testing and monitoring, and whether
there is sufficient surface casing to cover all zones containing usable-quality
water. A pressure test may be rejected by the commission or its delegate
after consideration of the following factors:
(I) the degree of pressure change during the test,
(II) the level of risk to usable-quality water if mechanical
integrity of the well is lost; and
(III) whether circumstances surrounding the administration
of the test make the test inconclusive.
(E) Alternative testing methods.
(i) As an alternative to the testing required in subparagraph
(B) of this paragraph, the tubing-casing annulus pressure may be monitored
and included on the annual monitoring report required by paragraph
(11) of this section, with the authorization of the commission or
its delegate and provided that there is no indication of problems
with the well. Wells that are approved for tubing-casing annulus monitoring
under this paragraph shall be tested in the manner provided under
subparagraph (B) of this paragraph at least once every ten years after
January 1, 1990.
(ii) The commission or its delegate may grant an exception
for viable alternative tests or surveys or may require alternative
tests or surveys as a permit condition.
(F) The operator shall notify the appropriate district
office at least 48 hours prior to the testing. Testing shall not commence
before the end of the 48-hour period unless authorized by the district
(G) A complete record of all tests shall be filed in
duplicate in the district office on the appropriate form within 30
days after the testing.
(H) In the case of permits issued under this section
prior to the effective date of this amendment which require pressure
testing more frequently than once every five years, the commission's
delegate may, by letter of authorization, reduce the required frequency
of pressure tests, provided that such tests are required at least
once every three years. The commission shall consider the permit to
have been amended to require pressure tests at the frequency specified
in the letter of authorization.
(13) Plugging. Disposal wells shall be plugged upon
abandonment in accordance with §3.14 of this title (relating
(A) Violations of this section may subject the operator
to penalties and remedies specified in the Texas Water Code, Chapter
27, and the Natural Resources Code, Title 3.
(B) The certificate of compliance for any oil, gas,
or geothermal resource well may be revoked in the manner provided
in §3.73 of this title (relating to Pipeline Connection; Cancellation
of Certification of Compliance; Severance) for violation of this section.
|Source Note: The provisions of this §3.9 adopted to be effective January 1, 1976; amended to be effective February 23, 1979, 4 TexReg 436; amended to be effective April 1, 1982, 7 TexReg 651; amended to be effective December 4, 1996, 21 TexReg 11361; amended to be effective August 4, 1998, 23 TexReg 7768; amended to be effective December 28, 1999, 24 TexReg 11711; amended to be effective November 24, 2004, 29 TexReg 10728; amended to be effective July 2, 2012, 37 TexReg 4892; amended to be effective November 17, 2014, 39 TexReg 8988