EPA's Region 6 Office
Serving: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and 66 Tribal Nations
The Underground Injection Control Program is authorized under the Safe Drinking Water Act. The program is to assure that injection of fluids underground is accomplished in an environmentally safe manner. The Environmental Protection Agency established minimum requirements necessary to meet that objective. Those include:
- All injection wells must be either authorized by permit or rule.
- Minimum construction and siting requirements.
- Requirements for permit applications and processes which must be followed for permit evaluation.
- Enforcement of program requirements.
The Safe Drinking Water Act provides that states that have requirements as stringent as those established by EPA may receive enforcement authority over injection wells within their jurisdiction. All five Region 6 states have that authority.
The EPA retains enforcement authority where the states were unable to demonstrate jurisdiction or if a state does not adequately enforce program requirements. The states could not demonstrate their jurisdiction on Indian lands, except for Class II wells on lands of the Five Civilized Tribes in Oklahoma. The Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division is responsible for enforcing Underground Injection Control requirements on those Indian lands.
The Compliance Assurance and Enforcement Division's Water Enforcement Branch, AR/LA/OK NPDES (UIC) Section is responsible for direct enforcement responsibility for about 3100 injection wells on lands of 12 tribes in Oklahoma and 2 in New Mexico. Enforcement activities include inspecting and testing injection wells, notifying injection well operators of violations, issuing administrative orders, and assisting the Department of Justice in civil and criminal enforcement activities.
Staff include five persons stationed in the Regional Office in Dallas and two persons stationed in Pawhuska, Oklahoma. The Dallas staff is generally responsible for reviewing reports and initiating enforcement/compliance assistance activities. The Pawhuska Field Office staff is responsible for conducting field investigations and providing technical assistance to injection well operators.