(a) Definitions. The following words and terms, when
used in this section, shall have the following meanings, unless the
context clearly indicates otherwise.
(1) Affected person--A person who, as a result of the
activity sought to be permitted, has suffered or may suffer actual
injury or economic damage other than as a member of the general public.
(2) Brine mining facility or facility--The brine mining
injection well, and the pits, tanks, fresh water wells, pumps, and
other structures and equipment that are or will be used in conjunction
with the brine mining injection well.
(3) Brine mining injection well--A well used to inject
fluid for the purpose of extracting brine by the solution of a subsurface
salt formation. The term "brine mining injection well" does not include
a well used to inject fluid for the purpose of leaching a cavern for
the underground storage of hydrocarbons or the disposal of waste,
or a well used to inject fluid for the purpose of extracting sulphur
by the thermofluid mining process.
(4) Commission--The Railroad Commission of Texas.
(5) Director--The director of the Oil and Gas Division
or a staff delegate designated in writing by the director of the Oil
and Gas Division or the commission.
(6) Existing brine mining injection well--A brine mining
injection well in which injection operations began prior to the effective
date of this section.
(7) Fresh water--Water having bacteriological, physical,
and chemical properties that make it suitable and feasible for beneficial
use for any lawful purpose.
(8) New brine mining injection well--A brine mining
injection well in which injection operations begin on or after the
effective date of this section.
(9) Permit--A written authorization issued by the commission
under this section for the operation of a brine mining injection well.
(10) Person--A natural person, corporation, organization,
government or governmental subdivision or agency, business trust,
estate, trust partnership, association, or any other legal entity.
(11) Pollution--The alteration of the physical, chemical,
or biological quality of, or the contamination of, water that makes
it harmful, detrimental, or injurious to humans, animal life, vegetation
or property or to public health, safety, or welfare, or impairs the
usefulness or the public enjoyment of the water for any lawful or
(1) Unauthorized injection. No person may operate a
brine mining injection well without obtaining a permit from the commission
under this section. No person may begin constructing a new brine mining
injection well until the commission has issued a permit to operate
the well under this section and a permit to drill, deepen, plug back,
or reenter the well under §3.5 of this title (relating to Application
to Drill, Deepen, Reenter, or Plug Back) (Statewide Rule 5).
(2) Fluid migration. No person may operate a brine
mining injection well in a manner that allow fluids to escape from
the permitted injection zone. If fluids are migrating from the permitted
injection zone, the operator shall immediately cease injection operations.
(3) Falsifying documents and tampering with gauges.
No person may knowingly make any false statement, representation,
or certification in any application, report, record, or other document
submitted or required to be maintained under this section or under
any permit issued pursuant to this section, or falsify, tamper with,
or knowingly render inaccurate any monitoring device or method required
to be maintained under this section or under any permit issued pursuant
to this section.
(c) Standards for permit issuance. A permit may be
issued only if the commission determines that the operation of the
brine mining injection well will not result in the pollution of fresh
water. All permits issued under this section will contain the conditions
required by subsections (f) and (g) of this section, and all other
conditions reasonably necessary to prevent the pollution of fresh
(d) Permit application.
(1) Duty to apply. Any person who operates or proposes
to operate a brine mining injection well shall file a permit application
with the commission in Austin within the time provided in paragraph
(2) of this subsection. The applicant shall mail or deliver a copy
of the application to the appropriate district office on the same
day the application is mailed or delivered to the commission in Austin.
A permit application will be considered filed with the commission
on the date it is received by the commission in Austin.
(2) Time to apply.
(A) Any person who proposes to operate a new brine
mining injection well shall file a permit application at least 180
days before the date on which injection is to begin, unless a later
date has been authorized by the director.
(B) Any person who is operating an existing brine injection
well shall file a permit application within 90 days of the effective
date of this section.
(C) Any person who has obtained a permit under this
section and who wishes to continue to operate the brine mining injection
well after the permit expires shall file an application for new permit
at least 180 days before the existing permit expires, unless a later
date has been authorized by the director.
(3) Who applies. When a brine mining facility is owned
by one person but is operated by another person, it is the operator's
duty to file an application for a permit.
(4) Application requirements for all applicants. All
applicants shall submit the following information, using application
forms supplied by the commission:
(A) name, mailing address, and location of the brine
mining facility for which the application is submitted;
(B) the operator's name, mailing address, telephone
number, and status as federal, state, private, public, or other entity,
and a statement indicating whether the operator is the owner of the
(C) the proposed uses for the brine mined at the facility;
(D) a listing of all permits or construction approvals
for the facility received or applied for under federal or state environmental
(E) a topographic map, or other map if the topographic
map is unavailable, extending one mile beyond the property boundaries
of the facility, depicting the facility and those springs, other surface
water bodies, drinking water wells, and other wells listed in public
records or otherwise known to the applicant within 1/4 mile of the
facility property boundary;
(F) a plat showing the oil and gas operators of the
tract on which the facility is located and the tracts adjacent to
the tract on which the facility is located. On the plat or on a separate
sheet attached to the plat, the applicant shall list the names and
addresses of the oil and gas operators;
(G) a plat showing the surface ownership of the tract
on which the facility is located and the tracts adjacent to the tract
on which the facility is located. On the plat or on a separate sheet
attached to the plat, the applicant shall list the names and addresses
of the surface owners, as determined from the current county tax rolls
or other reliable sources, and shall identify the source of the list.
If the director determines that, after diligent efforts, the applicant
has been unable to ascertain the name and address of one or more surface
owners, the director may waive the requirements of this subparagraph
with respect to those surface owners;
(H) a map with surveys marked showing the type, location,
and depth of all wells of public record within a 1/4 mile radius of
the brine mining injection well that penetrate the salt formation.
The applicant shall attach the following information to the map:
(i) a tabulation of the wells showing the dates the
wells were drilled and the present status of the wells; and
(ii) plugging records for plugged and abandoned wells
and completion records for other wells;
(I) a letter from the Groundwater Advisory Unit of
the Oil and Gas Division stating the depth to which fresh water strata
should be protected;
(J) a complete electric log of the brine mining injection
well or a nearby well. On the log, the applicant shall identify the
geologic formations between the land surface and the top of the salt
formation and the depths at which they occur;
(K) a drawing of the surface and subsurface construction
details of the brine mining injection well;
(L) the proposed maximum daily injection rate and maximum
(M) the proposed injection procedure;
(N) the proposed mechanical integrity testing procedure;
(O) the source of mining water to be used at the facility.
If the source is groundwater, the following information must be included:
(i) the groundwater formation name;
(ii) an depth of the groundwater formation; and
(iii) an analysis of the groundwater;
(P) the direction of the hydraulic gradient in the
(Q) the proposed groundwater monitoring plan, or an
alternate plan for assuring that fluids are not escaping from the
permitted injection zone.
(5) Additional information. The applicant shall submit
any other information required on the application form supplied by
the commission. In addition to the information reported on the application
form, the applicant shall submit, at the director's request, any other
information the commission may reasonably require to assess the brine
mining injection well and to determine whether to issue a permit.
(e) Signatories to applications and reports.
(1) Applications. All applications shall be signed
(A) for a corporation, by a responsible corporate officer.
A responsible corporate officer means a president, secretary, treasurer,
or vice-president of the corporation in charge of a principal business
function, or any other person who performs similar policy-making or
decision-making functions for the corporation; or
(B) for a partnership or sole proprietorship, by a
general partner or the proprietor, respectively.
(2) Reports. All reports required by permits and other
information requested by the commission shall be signed by a person
described in paragraph (1) of this subsection or by a duly authorized
representative of that person. A person is a duly authorized representative
(A) the authorization is made in writing by a person
described in paragraph (1) of this subsection;
(B) the authorization specifies an individual or position
having responsibility for the overall operation of the regulated facility;
(C) the authorization is submitted to the commission
before or together with any report of information signed by the authorized
(3) Certification. Any person signing a document under
paragraph (1) or (2) of this subsection shall make the following certification:
"I certify under penalty of law that this document and all attachments
were prepared under my direction or supervision in accordance with
a system designed to assure that qualified personnel properly gathered
and evaluated the information submitted. Based on my inquiry of the
person or persons who manage the system, or who are directly responsible
for gathering the information, the information submitted is, to the
best of my knowledge and belief, true, accurate, and complete. I am
aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information."
(f) Conditions applicable to all permits. The conditions
specified in this subsection apply to all permits.
(1) Duty to comply. The operator shall comply with
all conditions of the permit. Any permit noncompliance is grounds
for enforcement action, for permit termination, revocation and reissuance,
or modification, or for denial of a permit renewal application.
(2) Duty to reapply. If the operator wishes to continue
a permitted activity after the expiration date of the permit, the
operator shall apply for and obtain a new permit.
(3) Need to halt or reduce activity not a defense.
It is not a defense for an operator in an enforcement action that
it would have been necessary to halt or reduce the permitted activity
in order to maintain compliance with the conditions of the permit.
(4) Duty to mitigate. The operator shall take all reasonable
steps to minimize and correct any adverse effect on the environment
resulting from noncompliance with the permit.
(5) Proper operation and maintenance. The operator
shall at all times properly operate and maintain all facilities and
systems of treatment and control, and related appurtenances, that
are installed or used by the operator to achieve compliance with the
conditions of the permit. Proper operation and maintenance includes
effective performance, adequate funding, adequate operator staffing
and training, and adequate laboratory and process controls, including
appropriate quality assurance procedures. This provision requires
the operation of back-up and auxiliary facilities or similar systems
only when necessary to achieve compliance with the conditions of the