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New Mexico Underground Injection Control Permit (14-NM-c)

The Underground Injection Control (UIC) Permit process in New Mexico is implemented by the New Mexico Environment Department Groundwater Quality Bureau (GWQB) and the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department – Oil Conservation Division (OCD) under NMAC and NMAC OCD is the lead agency in regulating geothermal injection wells. Geothermal wells are classified as Class V wells for UIC purposes.

Underground Injection Control Permit Process

14-NM-c.1 – Application for Underground Injection Control Permit

The developer is required to submit an application for an Underground Injection Control permit to NMOCD. An application must be obtained through NMOCD's Environment Division. The application materials must include documentation demonstrating that the waste to be injected into the well will not cause surface or groundwater disruption.

14-NM-c.2 – Provide Public Notice of Application

The developer is required to provide public notice of the application within 30 days of submission of the application. The notice must be provided in the location of the proposed discharge in a form provided by NMOCD. NMAC

14-NM-c.3 – Affidavit of Publication

The developer must provide NMOCD with an Affidavit of Publication showing compliance with public notice requirements within 15 days of completion of public notice requirements. NMAC

14-NM-c.4 to 14-NM-c.5 – Review Application Materials for Completeness

NMOCD must review the application for administrative completeness within 30 days of receipt of the application. NMAC

If NMOCD determines that the application is administratively incomplete, then the NMOCD will likely request additional information.

14-NM-c.6 – Notify Developer of Completeness of Application

NMOCD must notify the developer in writing when the application is deemed administratively complete.

14-NM-c.7 – Provide Notice of Preliminary Decision

NMOCD must provide notice of proposed approval or disapproval of the application, including conditions for approval proposed by NMOCD or the reasons for the disapproval. NMOCD must mail a copy of the proposed approval or disapproval to the developer. NMAC

14-NM-c.8 – Comment on Application

NMOCD must allow the public to submit written comments for at least 30 days. Any interested party may request a public hearing. The interested party must indicate the reasons why a hearing should be held. NMAC

14-NM-c.9 to 14-NM-c.11 – Is there a request for Public Hearing?

If NMOCD determines that there is sufficient public interest, then a public hearing will be conducted. NMOCD must provide public notice of the hearing at least 30 days before the date of the hearing. NMAC

14-NM-c.12 to 14-NM-c.13 – Does NMOCD Approve the Application?

NMOCD must approve, approve with conditions, or disapprove a proposed permit within 60 days after the application is deemed administratively complete.

14-NM-c.14 to 14-NM-c.15 – Are there Conditions Attached to Approval?

If NMOCD approves the permit with conditions, then the developer is required to agree in writing to the conditions imposed. Conditions may include groundwater monitoring, waste analysis, spill reporting, among other requirements.

14-NM-c.16 – Class V Underground Injection Control Permit

Each permit to inject issued by OCD must contain provisions for operation, maintenance, and reporting. The permit must indicate the following:

  • The type of fluid authorized to be injected;
  • The tubing size and lining material;
  • The packer setting depth;
  • The maximum surface injection pressure.

Injection wells must also be equipped to facilitate periodic testing to assure continued mechanical integrity. NMAC

14-NM-c.17 – Comply with Monitoring Requirements

The New Mexico Environment Department GWQB will inspect all permitted Class V well sites at least annually. Inspections determine whether all discharge permit conditions are being met. The waste being discharged must be analyzed to determine that it does not contain contaminants other than those approved in the permit.

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