<<Prev Rule

Texas Administrative Code

Next Rule>>
RULE §331.245Bedded Salt Cavern Disposal Well Operating Requirements

(a) General operating requirements.

  (1) A maximum allowable operating pressure and test pressure shall not exceed 0.8 pounds per square inch per foot of depth measured at the higher elevation of either the long string casing seat or the highest interior elevation of the cavern roof, but in no case shall it 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) A minimum operating pressure that is protective of bedded salt cavern integrity shall be maintained.

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

  (4) Unless an alternative to a packer has been approved under §331.243(e) of this title (relating to Bedded Salt Cavern Disposal Well Construction Standards), the annulus between the tubing and long string casing shall be filled with a noncorrosive fluid 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.

  (5) Chemical and physical characteristics of all injected materials and cavern contents shall protect and be compatible with the disposal well, associated facilities, and injection zone, and shall ensure proper operation of the facility to meet the performance standard of §331.242 of this title (relating to Bedded Salt Cavern Disposal Well Performance Standard and Siting Requirements).

  (6) All injection of waste into a bedded salt cavern shall be performed through removable tubing(s) with a packer or fluid seal 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) Before beginning waste disposal operations, a blanket material shall:

    (A) be placed into the salt cavern to prevent unwanted leaching of the cavern roof;

    (B) consist of crude oil, mineral oil, or other fluid possessing similar noncorrosive, nonsoluble, low-density properties;

    (C) be sufficient to protect the integrity of the cement and formation bond at the long string casing seat; and

    (D) be of sufficient volume to contact the entire cavern roof.

  (9) The cavern roof and level of the blanket material shall be monitored at least once every five years by running a density interface survey or using an alternative method.

  (10) 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 §331.246(c) of this title (relating to Bedded Salt Cavern and Well 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.

  (11) If the loss of integrity is discovered under paragraph (4) of this subsection or during periodic integrity testing, or if unauthorized communication is established between bedded salt caverns, 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 before resuming injection of waste.

  (12) Whenever the owner or operator obtains evidence that there may have been a release of injected wastes or brine 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 before completing cleanup action if the owner or operator demonstrates that the injection operation will not endanger USDWs or freshwater aquifers.

  (13) All fluids displaced from the cavern after injection of any waste shall be managed under 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 disposal 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.

Source Note: The provisions of this §331.245 adopted to be effective August 16, 2012, 37 TexReg 6078

Link to Texas Secretary of State Home Page | link to Texas Register home page | link to Texas Administrative Code home page | link to Open Meetings home page