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New Rules - Class II Disposal Wells and Oil and Gas Waste Facilities

New chapters of the Ohio Administrative Code governing Class II Disposal Wells (1501:9-3) and Oil and Gas Waste Facilities (1501:9-4) took effect January 13, 2022.

Class II Disposal Wells

The new rules governing Class II Disposal Wells are a complete rewrite of current rules. While the majority of changes impact the siting, permitting, and construction of new Class II Disposal Wells, many changes will impact current operators. 

Some of the noteworthy provisions in the new rules are:

  • A greater area-of-review of wells that approach or penetrate the injection zone, around newly proposed Class II Disposal Wells and Surface Facilities;
  • Clarified language regarding corrective action that must be taken for problematic wells identified in the area-of-review;
  • Inclusion of the definition of a confining zone (the interval designated to protect USDWs), and standards for the review of a confining zone;
  • Limitations or prohibition on disposal into certain formations;
  • Increased cement to be placed during the construction or conversion of a Class II Disposal Well;
  • Requiring positive pressure to be maintained on the annulus of every Class II Disposal Well;
  • A clarified and expanded public notice process that establishes time frames, standing and clear requirements for public notice, public meetings, and deficiencies in a permit application;
  • Detailed permitting, construction, and operational requirements for a Surface Facility. 
  • Enhanced standards, requirements, and Division enforcement authority regarding seismic events near Class II Disposal Wells;
  • New requirement for water wells within 1,500 feet of new Class II Disposal wells and surface facilities to be baseline tested prior to construction;
  • Addition of requirements governing the issuance of an order that allows a Class II Disposal Well to begin injection, as specifically required pursuant to 1509.22 of the   Ohio Revised Code;
  • Enhanced testing of Class II Disposal Wells and Surface Facilities during construction, including a verification of operations before commencement of injection;
  • Enhanced testing and inspections Class II Disposal Wells and Surface Facilities during operation, including regular testing, inspections, and pressure monitoring;
  • Requirements for submission of a decommissioning plan before plugging and reclaiming Class II Disposal Wells and Surface Facilities.

As mentioned, new rules governing Oil and Gas Waste Facilities will also take effect January 13, 2022. Certain activities currently performed at your Class II Disposal Well might require a permit as an Oil and Gas Waste Facility. These could include mechanical filtering of brine (i.e., centrifuge, filter press) or processing solid waste such as tank bottoms. The Division will attempt to reach out to those operators it believes will need to apply for a permit as an Oil and Gas Waste Facility, but it is ultimately the responsibility of an operator to comply with all applicable laws and rules.
 

Oil and Gas Waste Facilities

The rules governing Oil and Gas Waste Facilities are new, but they build on the current regulatory framework utilized in obtaining a Chief’s Order. While the majority of changes impact the siting, permitting, and construction of new Oil and Gas Waste Facilities, many changes will impact current waste facility operators. 

Some of the noteworthy provisions in the new rules are:

  • Sets forth standards for proprietary and critical infrastructure information;
  • Establishes insurance and financial assurance requirements;
  • Establishes siting and setback criteria, including provisions allowing the chief to require additional requirements in sensitive areas;
  • Outlines the permitting requirements for an Oil and Gas Waste Facility, including provision that plans must be completed by a professional engineer;
  • Includes a public notice process that establishes time frames, standing and clear requirements for public notice, public meetings, and deficiencies in a permit application;
  • Institutes detailed permitting, construction, and operational requirements for an Oil and Gas Waste Facility, including standards for modifying a facility during and after construction;
  • Sets forth the Division’s enforcement authority;
  • Sets forth requirements for testing of Oil and Gas Waste Facilities during construction, including a verification of how the facility was built to appropriate standards and specs before commencement of operation;
  • Establishes testing and inspections of Oil and Gas Waste Facilities during operation  including regular testing and inspections by operator’s personnel;
  • Includes reporting requirements; and
  • Institutes requirements for decommissioning and reclaiming the site of a closed Oil and Gas Waste Facility.

All currently operating Oil and Gas Waste Facilities must apply for a permit, as required by the rule and the Chief’s Order governing your current operations. However, Oil and Gas Waste Facilities currently authorized by a Chief’s Order are exempt from the siting criteria and public notice requirements of the rule.