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RULE §331.246Bedded Salt Cavern and Well Monitoring and Testing Requirements

(a) Waste analysis plan. All material injected into or produced from the cavern shall be sampled and analyzed in accordance with the approved written waste analysis plan as specified by 40 Code of Federal Regulations §146.68(a).

(b) Pressure gauges. Pressure gauges shall be installed and maintained in proper operating conditions at all times on the tubing string(s) and on any annulus extending to the wellhead.

(c) Continuous recording devices. Continuous recording devices and instruments shall be installed in weatherproof enclosures, used, and maintained in proper operating condition at all times to record:

  (1) tubing string pressures;

  (2) the pressure and volume of any annular space that extends to the wellhead;

  (3) injection and production fluid flow rates, volume, and density;

  (4) the volume and composition of displaced gases; and

  (5) any other data specified by the permit.

(d) Automatic Alarms. The owner or operator shall also install and use:

  (1) automatic alarm and automatic shutoff systems, designed to sound and shut-in the well when pressures and flow rates or other parameters approved by the executive director exceed a range and/or gradient specified in the permit; or

  (2) automatic alarms designed to sound when the pressures, flow rates, or other parameters approved by the executive director exceed a rate and/or gradient specified in the permit, in cases where the owner or operator certifies that a trained operator will be on location and able to immediately respond to alarms at all times when the well is operating.

(e) Testing and calibration of monitoring instruments. All gauges, and pressure sensing and recording devices shall be tested and calibrated semi-annually.

(f) Mechanical integrity. The owner or operator shall maintain mechanical integrity of the disposal well and bedded salt cavern at all times that the well and cavern are in service.

  (1) Mechanical integrity of the well must be demonstrated:

    (A) before the well is initially placed in service;

    (B) within five-year intervals during the operating life of the well to test for fluid movement along the borehole;

    (C) after each workover which involves removal of the injection tubing, recompletions, or unseating of the packer; and

    (D) before the well is plugged, unless the mechanical integrity test has been performed in the last five years.

  (2) Mechanical integrity of the cavern must be demonstrated:

    (A) before the cavern is initially placed in service;

    (B) within five-year intervals during the operating life of the cavern; and

    (C) in instances where the integrity of the casing seat or cavern may be compromised.

  (3) Mechanical integrity test methods.

    (A) Each bedded salt cavern disposal well shall be tested for mechanical integrity using a nitrogen-brine interface method.

    (B) Each bedded salt cavern shall be tested for mechanical integrity using a hydrostatic brine test.

    (C) A sonar survey, or other test approved by the executive director, shall be conducted for each bedded salt cavern.

    (D) A pressure test shall be performed on each bedded salt cavern disposal well and cavern.

  (4) The owner or operator may use an alternative cavern integrity test if the alternative integrity test is substantially equivalent to the integrity tests specified in paragraph (3) of this subsection. The owner or operator shall submit the following information for the executive director's consideration:

    (A) A description of the test method and the theory of operation, including the test sensitivities, a justification for the test parameters, and the pass and fail criteria for the test;

    (B) a description of the well and cavern conditions under which the test can be conducted;

    (C) the procedure for interpreting the test results; and

    (D) an interpretation of the test upon completion of the test.

  (5) The well and cavern integrity testing shall be conducted at the maximum allowable operating pressure.

(g) Corrosion monitoring.

  (1) Corrosion monitoring of well materials shall be conducted quarterly. Test materials shall be the same as those used in the injection tubing, packer, and long string casing, and will be continuously exposed to the waste with the exception of when the well is taken out of service.

  (2) Corrosion monitoring may be waived if the disposal well owner or operator demonstrates that the waste will not be corrosive to the well materials with which the waste is expected to come into contact throughout the life of the well. The demonstration shall include a description of the methodology used to make that determination.

(h) Ambient monitoring.

  (1) The owner or operator shall comply with ambient monitoring requirements in accordance with §331.64(h) of this title (relating to Monitoring and Testing Requirements).

  (2) The owner or operator shall conduct subsidence monitoring (elevation surveys) over the area of review and any other type of ambient monitoring necessary to comply with §331.242 of this title (relating to Bedded Salt Cavern Disposal Well Performance Standard and Siting Requirements). Elevation surveys shall be conducted by a licensed professional land surveyor.

(i) Hydrogeologic compatibility determination. The owner or operator shall submit information demonstrating that the waste stream and its anticipated reaction products will not alter the permeability, thickness, or other relevant characteristics of the bedded salt cavern confining zone or bedded salt cavern injection zone such that they would no longer meet the requirements specified in §331.121 of this title (relating to Class I Wells).

(j) Other monitoring and testing. The owner or operator shall conduct any other monitoring and testing requirements, including determination of composition and volume of leachate.

(k) All testing and monitoring of the bedded salt disposal cavern and well shall be planned and supervised, and test results shall be reviewed by qualified individuals acting under the responsible charge of a licensed professional engineer or licensed professional geoscientist, as appropriate, with current registration under the Texas Engineering Practice Act or Texas Geoscience Practice Act.

(l) Notification of scheduled logging and testing. The executive director or his designated representative shall have the opportunity to witness all logging and testing. The owner or operator shall submit a written schedule of such activities to the executive director at least seven days before conducting tests.

Source Note: The provisions of this §331.246 adopted to be effective August 16, 2012, 37 TexReg 6078

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