Managing Shallow Disposal Systems in Region 5
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- Basic Information about Class V Wells
- Subtypes of Class V Wells
- How Many Are in Our Region?
- Our Priorities
- Working in and with States and Tribes
- Senior Environmental Employee (SEE) Contacts / SEE Class V Inspection & Closure Assistance Team
- Working with Local Governments
- Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells
- How Do I Close My Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Well?
- Permitting These Systems
- How Do I Inventory My Shallow Disposal System?
- Injection Wells Used for Site Clean-Up
- Frequently Asked Questions about Class V Wells
- Other Related Information
- Guidelines for Sampling & Analysis Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells (PDF) (9 pp, 31K) March 2005
- Close Endangering Shallow Disposal Systems
- Gather Inventory Information
- Educate, Inform, and Build Partnerships
Close Endangering Shallow Disposal Systems
These systems are most likely to cause a violation of primary drinking water standards or result in adverse impacts on public health or the environment. Several factors determine the level of endangerment including the local geology of the area, distance from drinking water supplies, specific UIC requirements and applicable state/local laws, and type of waste fluids being disposed. Waste fluids that exhibit hazardous characteristics, contain hazardous or radioactive constituents, exceed drinking water standards or can have potential adverse affects on human health are considered to be harmful. While many systems must be assessed case-by-case, those disposing of the following types of wastes have been documented as being particularly endangering.
- Untreated Sanitary Waste (raw sewage) has high concentrations of contaminants because the discharged waste receives no treatment. Cesspools are the focus for this type of waste.
- Automotive Service Related Wastewater can introduce plumes of various toxic chemicals found in engine oil, transmission fluid, power steering fluid, brake fluid, hydraulic fluid, antifreeze, chlorinated or non-chlorinated parts-cleaning solvents and degreasers. Motor Vehicle Waste Disposal Wells are the focus for this type of waste.
- Industrial Process Wastewater Certain industries are high priority due to the nature of wastes the facilities generate. A few examples include wastes from metal platers, dry cleaners, and wood finishers. View a table of facilities with standard industrial codes that are considered to have high potential for endangerment. Industrial waste disposal wells are the focus for this type of waste.
Closing these endangering systems does not mean that a business must shut down their daily operations. It does mean that the company must immediately stop all disposal practices that allow harmful fluids to be released underground and begin a permanent and safer alternative method for disposal that the UIC program has approved.
Gather Inventory Information
Owners and operators must submit inventory information about any shallow disposal system located at their facilities. This information helps us determine the type of system installed, the system's potential for endangering underground sources of drinking water, and the regulatory approach we will follow. The system may need to be closed, may qualify for rule-authorization, or may be eligible for a permit. We collect inventory information through three main sources:
- Businesses that follow the law and submit inventory on their own accord
- Field inspectors that conduct county-by-county searches to locate these systems
- Other regulatory programs that submit referrals for follow-up
For more state-specific information, see working with States and Tribes.
Educate, Inform, and Build Partnerships
We reach out to state, tribal and local governments and the public to increase awareness about the UIC program, Class V well requirements and the potential for Class V wells to contaminate underground sources of drinking water. We have provided funding for these organizations through cooperative agreements, grants and other funded efforts to initiate programs that educate the local community and find Class V wells within their jurisdictions.
We also investigate citizen complaints in addition to issues raised by states, tribes and local governments and participate in national workgroups related to Class V issues that could affect Region 5.
Working in and with States and Tribes
- The Illinois EPA regulates Class V wells in Illinois.
- In a joint effort, our agencies have initiated a Mutual Benefits Project to control problem Class V wells in Illinois.
- IL State Contact information
- The EPA Region 5 Office directly implements a program for regulating Class V wells in Indian Lands.
- Martin McCleery is an authorized representative of EPA hired to inspect confirmed and potential Class V facilities on Indian Lands.
- Get more information about our tribal program
- The EPA Region 5 Office directly implements a program for regulating Class V wells in Indiana.
- IN State Contact information
- The EPA Region 5 Office directly implements a program for regulating Class V wells in Michigan.
- Glen Hare, Robert Julianus, and James Lounds are authorized representatives of EPA hired to inspect confirmed and potential Class V facilities in Michigan.
- MI State Contact information
- EPA Region 5 directly implements a program for regulating Class V wells in Minnesota.
- Richard Polanski and Martin McCleery are authorized representatives of EPA hired to inspect confirmed and potential Class V facilities in Minnesota.
- MN State Contact information
Senior Environmental Employee (SEE) Contacts
SEE Class V Inspection & Closure Assistance Team
Class V Inspections and Closures
- Robert Julianus (firstname.lastname@example.org)(269) 694-6048
- Clifton Lee (email@example.com) 312-886-0172
- James Lounds (firstname.lastname@example.org) 906-235-4637
- Martin McCleery (email@example.com) 612-325-7837
- Richard Polanski (firstname.lastname@example.org) 612-925-1524
- Cheong-Yip Ron Yuen (email@example.com) 312-353-4687
Working With Local Governments
Coordination and information sharing between Federal, State, and Local governments is crucial to protecting ground water. Local governments have the best knowledge about the businesses within their communities that have shallow disposal systems. We have formed partnerships with various local officials and have provided small grants along with training, technical assistance, outreach materials, and Best Management Practice (BMP) information. We have provided enforcement assistance to help local officials with facilities that are suspected of contaminating local ground water supplies and that fall under our requirements. We have also conducted workshops for local officials in Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota on Federal requirements.
We encourage local officials to work with us. Here are a few things local officials can do. Contact us for additional information.
- Provide EPA with basic inventory information about Class V wells they may also regulate.
- Inform the businesses you visit about the Minimum Federal Requirements for Class V wells.
- Distribute outreach materials including inventory and pre-closure notification forms to help increase awareness about these systems.
- Ensure that floor drains are not connected to dry wells or septic systems and, if they are, refer the facility to the UIC program for compliance screening.
- Help guide businesses in their efforts to comply with closure requirements for large capacity cesspools and motor vehicle waste disposal wells. (Review the Class V Rule Quick Reference Guide for Regulators (PDF) (2pp, 104K) January 2000
- Ensure local government facilities are in compliance and work with us to resolve any compliance issues identified.
- Review local building/plumbing codes for consistency with Federal requirements. Local regulations that allow or require floor drains at automotive or industrial facilities may unintentionally create liability since these drains may violate Federal regulations.
- Consider ordinances that prohibit these types of systems. At a minimum, refer new facilities to EPA to ensure compliance prior to installing such systems.
- Partner with us to identify potential non-compliant facilities for compliance review. Federal grant funding may be available in these instances.
How Do I Inventory My Shallow Disposal System?
Owners and operators of Class V wells are required by law to submit basic inventory information to the UIC Program Director about their wells.
Basic inventory information includes facility name and location, name and address of legal contact, ownership of the facility, nature and type of injection well(s), and operating status of well (i.e., planned/under construction, active, temporarily abandoned, or plugged).
Where you send this information depends on the state where the facility is located (Refer to the section on Working With States and Tribes). For facilities in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota or on Tribal Land, we have prepared an example underground discharge system (Class V) inventory sheet (PDF) (1pg, 74K) June 2002 with instructions to make it simpler for well owners and operators to do this.
Injection Wells Used for Site Clean-Up
Our program also regulates shallow disposal systems that are used as part of site cleanup activities. Such activities must be RCRA-approved, otherwise they are banned.
- For RCRA-approved projects in Illinois, Ohio and Wisconsin, see Working With States and Tribes for contact information.
- For RCRA-approved projects in Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota and on Tribal Lands, project managers, at a minimum, need to provide inventory information about the wells to the UIC program.
- This can be provided on our example underground discharge system (Class V) inventory sheet (PDF) (1pg, 74K) June 2002.
- We will also need a brief description of the contamination being addressed, project duration and a map of the area extent of the contamination. This can be from reports previously prepared for other programs or agencies that are overseeing the cleanup activities.
Because these cleanups are intended to benefit the environment and are already overseen by other federal and/or state programs, the UIC program does not wish to unnecessarily delay remediation activities. In most all situations, the above information is sufficient to allow the UIC program to "rule-authorize" these types of injection wells (they do not require a permit).
If you would like to receive a letter or e-mail response back from EPA that the wells are authorized by rule, please include a cover letter with your inventory submittal requesting a response. After the injection activity has been completed, you need to notify the UIC program briefly describing when the wells have been plugged and how they were plugged.
Other Related Information
Small and Disadvantaged Businesses
EPA has several web pages related to small businesses which may be of interest to some Class V well owners and operators.
- Small Business Gateway provides environmental information and contacts for small businesses
- Questions and Answers on EPA's Small Business Compliance Policy (PDF) (3 pp, 119K) May 2004
- Small Business Policy (PDF) (18 pp, 80K) April 2000
- EPA Small Business Ombudsman
The Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assistance also has online help for small business owners.
Automotive Recyclers Association
EPA and the Automotive Recyclers Association have partnered to develop a compliance assistance website which brings together compliance assistance materials from each state, including fact sheets on many topics relevant to owners of shallow disposal systems, particularly the one on floor drains and the one on septic tanks and disposal wells. They cover:
- Self-audit Checklists
- Best Management Practices (BMPs)
- Links to Related Fact Sheets
- Other Resources
- State specific information for Indiana, Michigan and Minnesota.
- Overview of Underground Disposal Control Program (PDF) (2 pp, 88K) July 1999
- Disposal of Industrial Wastewater and Alternatives (PDF) (3 pp, 101K) July 1999
- Holding Tanks for Liquid Wastes (PDF) (3 pp, 134K) July 1999
- Car Wash and Vehicle Maintenance Facilities (PDF) (2 pp, 88K) July 1999
The Ground Water Protection Council is a national association of state ground water and underground injection control agencies whose mission is to promote the protection and conservation of ground water resources for all beneficial use, recognizing ground water as a critical component of the ecosystem.
- The National Automotive Environmental Compliance Assistance Center for the automotive industry.
- Operated by the Coordinating Committee for Automotive Repair in cooperation with EPA.
- All documents are created by Federal and State EPA and OSHA offices, as well as the automotive industry.
- Auto Service Virtual Shop has information on environmental requirements for the UIC program.
- Virtual Collision Repair Shop has information on environmental requirements for the UIC program.