14-WA-c Underground Injection Control Permit
The Safe Drinking Water Act requires Washington to implement technical criteria and standards to protect underground sources of drinking water from contamination. Under Chapter 173-218 WAC, the Washington State Department of Ecology (WSDE) regulates and permits underground injection control (UIC) wells in Washington. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorizes injection wells into 6 classes.
In Washington the majority of UIC wells are authorized by rule and do not require a formal permit, however the developer must register the well and comply with Washington’s Non-endangerment Standard. Once a well is authorized by rule and registered the developer may continue with the project.
14-WA-c.1 – Does the Injection Well Qualify for Authorization by Rule?
To qualify for authorization by rule a UIC well must meet the states Non-endangerment Standard.
Under WAC 173-218-030, "Non-endangerment Standard" means to prevent the movement of fluid containing any contaminant into the ground water if the contaminant may cause a violation of the water quality standards for ground waters of the state of Washington or may otherwise cause health concerns. The water quality standards for Washington are defined by chapter 173-200 WAC.
Several types of Class V wells automatically qualify under the non-endangerment standard. Including geothermal wells used for geothermal fluid return flow into the same aquifer if the return flow meets the water quality standards of Washington.
14-WA-c.2 – Underground Injection Control Well Registration
If a UIC well qualifies for authorization by rule then the developer is required to register the well with the WSDE. The WSDE maintains an online system for registering UIC wells.
While the application will vary depending on the type of well and injection, most developers will use the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Well Registration Form for Industrial or Commercial Facilities.
Required information includes a technical description of the well and the injection fluids, a facility description, and the longitude and latitude of the well.
14-WA-c.3 to 14-WA-c.4 – Review Application Materials for Completeness
The WSDE will review the application for completeness and compliance with the Non-endangerment Standard. If the WSDE does not believe the well is in compliance with the non-endangerment standard it may contact the developer to conduct a site visit or may require that the developer make on-site improvements to satisfy the non-endangerment standard.
14-WA-c.5 to 14-WA-c.6 – Does the WSDE Issue a Denial Letter within 60 Days?
If the WSDE does not contact the developer or the developer does not receive a denial letter within 60 days of filing an application then the well is automatically registered.
If the developer receives a denial letter then the developer will have to apply for a Waste Discharge Permit.
14-WA-c.7 to 14-WA-c.8 - Contact the WSDE for Permitting Procedures and Application
If a UIC well does not qualify for authorization by rule the developer will have to contact the WSDE for permitting procedures and applications. When an UIC Permit is required, the developer must also obtain a NPDES Waste Discharge Permit or State Wastewater Discharge Permit.(Chapter 173-216 WAC or Chapter 173-226 WAC).
The State Wasterwater Discharge Permit process is fully described in 14-WA-e: State Wastewater Discharge Permit
14-WA-c.9 – Underground Injection Control Permit
After the developer receives a Solid Waste Discharge Permit or Waste Discharge Permit the WSDE will issue an Underground Injection Control Permit.
- Washington Environmental Permit Handbook - Underground Injection Control Registration
- Class V Wells that Automatically Meet Non-Endangerment Standard
- Washington State Department of Ecology Online System for Registering UIC Wells
- Underground Injection Control (UIC) Well Registration Form for Industrial or Commercial Facilities
- EPA UIC Well Classifications