The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program regulates the construction, operation, permitting, and closure of injection wells that place fluids underground for storage or disposal. Cadmus has provided a wide range of support to the UIC program since the mid-1980s.
We currently are assisting EPA on a variety of projects related to the hydraulic fracturing of hydrocarbon-bearing rocks for the recovery of fossil fuels. In hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking (also spelled fracing) or hydrofracking, fluid injected under high pressure into reservoir rock formations induces cracks from the wellbore through which natural gas or oil in the reservoir can travel to the well and be pumped to the surface.
We supported the preparation of guidance on the use of diesel fuel for hydraulic fracturing, and we will provide support to EPA’s process for responding to comments once the guidance is released for public comments. We have also been supporting the review of the files of wells that have undergone hydraulic fracturing in an effort to determine the costs and benefits of this technique.
Underground injection techniques like those used in hydrofracking and in the deep disposal of hazardous and nonhazardous waste may also prove useful in efforts to stem global climate change. Since 2004 Cadmus has provided technical support to EPA as the Agency developed its rule covering the injection of the carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) deep underground to keep it out of the atmosphere, a process called geologic sequestration (GS). EPA published the rule in late 2010. We are now helping EPA develop guidance documents to aid the rule’s implementation, and we are assisting the Agency’s reviews of applications to construct and operate these wells, which are designated Class VI injection wells. When states apply for the authority to regulate these wells (known as primacy), Cadmus will also support EPA’s review of these applications as well.
We also provide other support to the EPA UIC program, including:
- Reviewing UIC grant allocations to states, tribes, and dependent territories.
- Reviewing state UIC regulations to determine whether they conform to federal requirements.
- Helping maintain the national database of UIC wells and their locations.
- Supporting reviews of other UIC program requirements such as aquifer exemptions and well inventories.