EPA settlement with XTO Energy resolves Safe Drinking Water Act injection well violations in Utah
Ensures compliance with requirements on the Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation
Fort Duchesne, Utah – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced a settlement with Texas-based XTO Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Exxon-Mobil, resolving alleged violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act’s Underground Injection Control program (UIC) at three injection wells within the Uintah & Ouray Indian Reservation in Utah’s Uinta Basin.
The settlement was filed on September 29 and requires the company to pay a civil penalty of $19,718.08 for its violations of UIC requirements. XTO failed to timely provide the agency with all information necessary to transfer the permits from XTO to Utah Gas Corp and failed to notify the Agency of the loss of mechanical integrity for one of its wells and to take prompt action to repair the well. The wells are in Uintah County and are used for disposal of brine produced from nearby gas production wells that were also operated by XTO.
“This settlement demonstrates that EPA takes compliance with the UIC program seriously,” said Suzanne Bohan, Director of EPA Region 8's Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Division. “As the nation’s drinking water aquifers diminish in quantity, it is increasingly important that regulations to protect aquifers are adhered to, especially in historically disadvantaged communities like those within Indian Reservations.”
Injection wells are required to maintain mechanical integrity to ensure they remain free of significant leaks that cause unwanted fluids to impact drinking water aquifers. EPA’s UIC program regulates injection activities to prevent contamination of underground sources of drinking water; the program relies on timely and accurate reporting by the regulated community.
Today’s action aligns with the federal government’s efforts to ensure environmental protection in tribal communities.
The settlement and order requiring its compliance are available for viewing at: Consent Agreement and Final Order.