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Regulatory and Permitting Information Desktop Toolkit

Idaho State Exploration Process (4-ID-a)

State Exploration Process Process

4-ID-a.1 - Is the Proposed Activity Pre-Drilling Exploration or Exploration Drilling?

In Idaho, no permit is needed for general geothermal exploration on private or state lands. However, a well drilling permit is required for any drilling activity that will encounter groundwater and specifically for exploration wells that are drilled for the discovery and/or evaluation of geothermal resources either in an established geothermal field or in unexplored areas.

4-ID-a.2 - No Permit Needed; Continue with Project

No exploratory permit is required for exploration conducted prior to the drilling of exploratory wells.

4-ID-a.3 - Will the Exploratory Well be Less than Six Inches in Diameter and Less than 1000 Feet Deep?

An "exploratory well" is a well drilled for the discovery and/or evaluation of geothermal resources either in an established geothermal field or in unexplored areas. "Exploratory well" does not include holes six (6) inches in diameter or less if they are used for gathering geotechnical data such as, but not limited to, heat flow, earth temperature, temperature gradient and/or seismic measurements, provided said holes are not greater than one thousand (1000) feet in depth below land surface and provided the material medium is not intended to be encountered. Exploration wells and production wells are both covered under the Permit to Drill for Geothermal Resources. (See Drilling for Geothermal Resources Rules Pg.3). These smaller wells are temporary in nature but must still be consistent with the proposed drilling plan.

4-ID-a.4 - File Notice of Intent (NOI), Bond

Any person, owner, or operator who proposes to construct a hole for the gathering of geotechnical data shall file a notice of intent with the Director of the Idaho Department of Water Resources twenty (20) days prior to construction. The NOI must show the hole location, proposed depth, hole size, construction methods, intended use, and abandonment plan along with with any other information required by the director.

(See Drilling for Geothermal Resource Rules Pg.4)

Bonding is required prior to approval by the director to cover the down hole (plugging). The bond must indemnify the state of Idaho providing good and sufficient security conditioned upon the performance of the duties required by regulations (and the Geothermal Resource Act) and the proper abandonment of any well covered by permit. Such bond shall be in an amount which is not less than ten thousand dollars ($10,000) for each individual well.

(See Drilling for Geothermal Resource Rules Pg.5)

4-ID-a.5 - Approved NOI

Written approval from the Director of the Department of Water Resources is required before construction may begin.

(See Drilling for Geothermal Resource Rules Pg.4)

4-ID-a.6 - Drilling Permit Process

The drilling of a well larger than six inches in diameter and more than 1000 feet deep will require the developer to follow the same permitting process used for any other geothermal well.

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