EPA Commends Texas for Protecting Water

RRC Protects State's Water

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized the Texas Railroad Commission for its work to protect underground sources of drinking water.

Methane Levels in Eagle Ford Water Insignificant

A main focus of the Texas Railroad Commission is to balance the development of natural resources in the state with protecting the environment. One of the ways the agency does this it to regulate injection wells used in oil and gas activity in order to protect the state's drinking water.

Recently, the RRC was commended for its Underground Injection Control (UIC), a federally-approved progra under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program protects the state's drinking water by enforcing EPA-approved rules on permitting, constructing and testing underground injection wells. The program manages the following types of wells: 

  • Enhanced recovery wells
  • Waste disposal wells
  • Wells used in brine mining
  • Underground hydrocarbon storage

The EPA regularly evaluates these types of programs and recently commended the RRC program for its outstanding record.

Among the highlights of the EPA’s evaluation, the RRC is recognized for ‘more than adequate inspection and monitoring’ of Class II injection wells (wells used in oil and gas activities) in Texas. The evaluation also shows the RRC maintains ‘an outstanding enforcement monitoring program’ for these wells. The evaluation also concludes the RRC’s testing and surveillance program for Class II injection wells ‘exceeds the minimum performance measure.’
— RRC Press Release

The EPA also commended the RRC for making changes that address seismicity in the state. These include:

  • New reporting
  • New operational requirements for operators
  • Newew permit application information to address seismic risk