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Oregon Underground Injection Control Permit (14-OR-c)

Underground Injection Control Permit Process

14-OR-c.1 - Inventory Registrations Form, Fee

All existing and new injection systems (Class I through Class V) are required to be inventoried and the data submitted to DEQ under OAR 340-044-0018. This is considered to be inventory registration. For example:

1. All Class II systems (e.g. Mist gas field brines) must be inventoried and the data registered with DEQ, meet DEQ siting requirements and acquire an individual Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) permit;

2. All injection systems operating under a WPCF permit must also be inventoried and the data registered as a UIC with DEQ, including Onsite systems in use for both domestic and industrial disposal.

3. Privately owned residential driveway and garage drains need to be registered and approved by DEQ as Class V systems.

Owners and operators of injection systems are required under Federal Regulation (40 CFR 144.26) to register and provide the requested inventory data to the State to determine if they qualify as "rule authorized" and if they qualify DEQ issues a written letter of approval. This is part of the minimum primacy delegation requirements (see 40 CFR 144.83). DEQ reviews each registration application on a case by case basis. Many older sites have been registered but are not able to meet the requirements for rule authorization and are not as such non compliant, and open to federal/state enforcement as well as third party lawsuits.

New injection systems are to be registered and approved by DEQ in writing prior to construction or use. During the winter DEQ suggests registering 60-90 days in advance to allow for data base entry, site plan review, and potential design changes that may be requested to modify the design so it can meet rule authorization requirements. During the summer register at least 90 to 120 in advance. Projects with incomplete data will not be returned.

(See Oregon UIC Program Website)

14-OR-c.2 - Determine if Injection System is "Rule Authorized"

Geothermal closed loop systems, dewatering injection systems, roof drains and some stormwater injection systems may qualify after DEQ review as rule authorized. For an injection system to qualify as "rule authorized", facilities must be registered, reviewed and found to have no impact on water quality and meet all other DEQ, state and federal requirements. The burden of proof is on the owner/operator of the injection system to prove that the facility is in compliance with federal and state regulations. DEQ issues rule authorization letters to the owner giving each site a UIC number in the database and each injection system its own number specific to the site. Copies of each letter are also sent to the municipalities and site consultants who requested them.

A copy of the Rule Authorization letter is to be kept at the site of the UIC system for inspections (local, state and federal). DEQ staff and the public can access the UIC database to determine if a site is registered and rule authorized, or call to see if a site has submitted registration forms and is in the review process. Injection systems that DEQ has not approved violate federal/state rules and are subject to fines, enforcement and third party lawsuits.

If an owner or operator of a system cannot provide the required registration data to determine if the system is "rule authorized", then they must either:

  • Close the injection system and find an alternative method of disposal,
  • Hook up, if available, to the local municipal stormwater sewer,
  • Modify/update the existing system to meeting the rule authorization requirements, or
  • Apply for a DEQ Water Pollution Control Facilities permit (general or area wide)

DEQ can revoke any rule authorization at a later date if a UIC system no longer complies with all requirements of rule authorization. Revocation will occur, for example, if the owner fails to install the approved pretreatment system, or is later found to be too close to a water well or submitted falsified data. Sites approved and later found to be in need of cleanup will also be revoked.

(See Rule Authorization Guidance)

Specifically, geothermal electricity generation systems can be rule authorized if the average bottom hole temperature of the production well is less than 250 degrees F. Higher temperature systems require an individual WPCF permit.

14-OR-c.3 - Is Injection System "Rule Authorized?"

14-OR-c.4 - Letter of Approval

14-OR-c.5 - Application for Industrial Individual Water Pollution Control Facility (WPCF) Permit, Management Plan, Fee

Owners of UIC systems that cannot be authorized by rule must apply for an individual UIC WPCF.

Prior to construction, the developer must also prepare and implement a written stormwater management plan based on current conditions and updated routinely, that uses best management practices (BMPs). These BMPs include operational and structural controls that minimize and prevent pollution from entering stormwater and treatment that removes pollutants contained in stormwater runoff. The stormwater management plan must include a system assessment, plans for operational control measures - including spill prevention, spill response, maintenance, and employee education. The system assessment must also include a routine evaluation of the effectiveness of the stormwater management plan.

(OAR 340-044-0018)

(See DEQ UIC Fee Guidance)

14-OR-c.6 - Receive and Process Application

It can take approximately two weeks for the DEQ to receive and process the WPCF application for high temperature geothermal systems (>250 degrees F).

14-OR-c.7 - Draft Permit

After receiving and processing the WPCF application, the DEQ gathers required information to write a draft permit. This process can take several weeks.

14-OR-c.8 - Initiate Applicant Review Process

The applicant review process typically takes two weeks.

14-OR-c.9 - Public Notice and Comment Period

The DEQ holds a 30 day public review and comment period.

14-OR-c.10 - Respond to Comments, Internal Review, Finalize Permits and Response to Comments

Depending on the amount of comments received, the response process can take days to weeks. The next step is internal review and receipt of any comments to the response. The permit and the comment response is then finalized.

14-OR-c.11 - Did DEQ Approve the Permit Application?

14-OR-c.12 - Individual WPCF Permit

If DEQ is satisfied with the comments and application materials, the WPCF permit will be issued.

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Contact Information

Edit Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
State Underground Injection Control Permitting Contact COLEabbazabbaDavid@deqabbazabbastateabbazabbaorabbazabbaus Visit Website

Edit Oregon Department of Environmental Quality
Geothermal Contact 541.687.7427 masonabbazabbabill@deqabbazabbastateabbazabbaorabbazabbaus Visit Website