Primary Enforcement Authority for the Underground Injection Control Program
On this page:
- How primary enforcement authority is defined
- How states, territories, and tribes apply for primacy
- States, territories, and tribes with primacy
- EPA's role in states, territories, and tribes without approved programs
The UIC program requirements were developed by EPA. They are designed to be adopted by states, territories, and tribes.
Primary enforcement authority, often called primacy, refers to state, territory, or tribal responsibilities associated with implementing EPA approved UIC programs. A state, territory, or tribe with UIC primacy, or primary enforcement authority oversees the UIC program in that state, territory, or tribe.
Primacy programs are established under two sections of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
Section 1422 requires primacy applicants meet EPA’s minimum requirements for UIC programs. Programs authorized under this section, referred to as 1422 programs, have primacy for Class I, II, III, IV, V, and VI wells. Under Section 1422, applicants may submit primacy applications for:
- All well classes
- Classes I – V
- Class VI
Section 1425 requires primacy applicants to demonstrate their standards are effective in preventing endangerment of USDWs. Section 1425 programs are not required to meet EPA’s minimum requirements as long as applicants can show their standards protect USDWs. Section 1425 applies to Class II wells only.
EPA may grant primacy for all or part of the UIC program. This means that in some jurisdictions primary enforcement authority for certain well classes may be shared with EPA.
States, territories, and tribes with primacy
Thirty four states and three territories have EPA approved primacy programs for well classes I, II, III, IV and V. Additionally, seven states and two tribes have applied for and received primacy approval for Class II wells only.
No Class VI primacy applications have been approved by EPA. EPA implements the Class VI program nationally.
EPA directly implements the Class II program in nine states, three territories, the District of Columbia, and for all tribes except for the Navajo Nation and Fort Peck Tribes. Twenty four states and two tribes have UIC Class II primacy under SDWA Section 1425. Seventeen states and three territories have UIC Class II primacy under SDWA Section 1422.
EPA is approving an application from the Commonwealth of Kentucky under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) to grant primary enforcement responsibility for Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II injection wells located within the state, except those located on Indian lands.
On October 28, 2016, the EPA published Kentucky’s Class II primacy approval via a direct final rule with a parallel proposal. The agency stated in the direct final rule that if EPA received adverse comment, the direct final rule would not take effect. During the 30-day comment period, which ended on November 28, 2016, the EPA received three adverse comment letters questioning Kentucky’s capacity to run the Class II program, along with some technical concerns regarding the state’s program. As a result, EPA is withdrawing the direct final rule. EPA reviewed the comments and determined that Kentucky is capable of running a program that can effectively protect underground sources of drinking water. EPA is therefore, issuing a second FRN approving the application from the Commonwealth of Kentucky under the SDWA to grant primary enforcement responsibility for UIC Class II injection wells located within the state. This action excludes Class II injection wells located on Indian lands.
If a state, territory, or tribe does not obtain primacy for all or some of the well classes, EPA implements the program directly through one of its regional offices. Currently, EPA implements the UIC program for all well classes in nine states and two territories. Except for the Navajo Nation and Fort Peck Class II programs, EPA directly implements the UIC program in Indian country.