Underground Injection Control

What is Underground Injection?

Underground injection is the technology of placing fluids underground, in porous formations of rocks, through wells or other similar conveyance systems. While rocks such as sandstone, shale, limestone appear to be solid, they can contain significant voids or pores that allow water and other fluids to fill and move through them.  The fluids may be water, wastewater or water mixed with chemicals.

Why Do We Need a Program to Regulate the Placement of Fluids Underground?

When wells are properly sited, constructed, and operated, underground injection is an effective and environmentally safe method to dispose of wastes.  The Safe Drinking Water Act established the Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program to provide safeguards so that injection wells do not endanger current and future underground sources of drinking water (USDW).  The most accessible fresh water is stored in shallow geological formations called aquifers and is the most vulnerable to contamination. These aquifers feed our lakes; provide recharge to our streams and rivers, particularly during dry periods; and serve as resources for 92 percent of public water systems in the United States.

What Is an Injection Well?

The UIC Program defines an injection well as any bored, drilled or a driven shaft or a dug hole, where the depth is greater than the largest surface dimension that is used to discharge fluids underground.  A drainfield is considered to be a horizontally placed injection system, and some drainfields are covered under the UIC Program.

How Does the UIC Program Regulate the Very Different Types of Underground Injection?

The EPA groups underground injection into five classes for regulatory control purposes. Each class includes wells with similar functions, and construction and operating features so that technical requirements can be applied consistently to the class. 

  • Class I includes the emplacement of hazardous and nonhazardous fluids (industrial and municipal wastes) into isolated formations beneath the lowermost USDW. Because they may inject hazardous waste, Class I wells are the most strictly regulated and are further regulated under the Resource, Conservation and Recovery Act. 
  • Class II includes injection of brines and other fluids associated with oil and gas production (Class II injection wells are regulated by the ND Oil & Gas Division); 
  • Class III encompasses injection of fluids associated with solution mining of minerals (Class III injection wells are regulated by the ND Geological Survey); 
  • Class IV addresses injection of hazardous or radioactive wastes into or above a USDW and is banned unless authorized under a supervised groundwater remediation project. 
  • Class V includes all underground injection not included in Classes I-IV. Class V wells inject nonhazardous fluids into or above a USDW and are typically shallow, on-site disposal systems, such as floor and sink drains which discharge directly or indirectly to groundwater, dry wells, leach fields, and similar types of drainage wells.
  • Injection practices or wells which are NOT covered by the UIC Program include;
    • individual residential waste disposal systems that inject ONLY sanitary waste
    • commercial waste disposal systems that serve fewer than 20 persons that inject ONLY sanitary waste. 

Are All Injection Wells Waste Disposal Wells?

All injection wells are not waste disposal wells. Some Class V wells, for example, inject surface water to replenish depleted aquifers or to prevent salt water intrusion. Some Class II wells inject fluids for enhanced recovery of oil and natural gas, and others inject liquid hydrocarbons that constitute our Nation's strategic fuel reserves in times of crisis.

How Does the UIC Program Prevent Contamination of Our Water Supply?

Injection wells have the potential to inject contaminants that may cause our underground sources of drinking water to become contaminated. The UIC Program prevents this contamination by setting minimum requirements. The goals of the EPA's UIC Program are to prevent contamination by keeping injected fluids within the well and the intended injection zone, or in the case of injection of fluids directly or indirectly into a USDW, to require that injected fluids not cause a public water system to violate drinking water standards or otherwise adversely affect public health. These minimum requirements affect the siting of an injection well, and the construction, operation, maintenance, monitoring, testing, and finally, the closure of the well. All injection wells require authorization under general rules or specific permits.

Email List (click to expand) then click "Program" to sort

Last Name First Name E-Mail Address Program Phone
Anderson Carl cjanders@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater - Program Manager 701-328-5213
Collins James jcollins@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - TMDLs 701-328-5161
Crowdus Kory kcrowdus@nd.gov WQ — Spill Investigation 701-328-5202
DeVries Sam sgdevries@nd.gov WQ — Permits 701-328-5215
Espe Brady bespe@nd.gov WQ — Permits - CAFO/AFO 701-328-5228
Gleich Casey ctgleich@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater 701-328-4164
Gross Joe jlgross@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - Database Mgmt 701-328-5292
Grossman Dallas dgrossma@nd.gov WQ — Permits - Stormwater 701-328-5242
Hargiss Mike mhargiss@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - TMDLs 701.499.5209
Haroldson Marty mharolds@nd.gov WQ — Permits - Program Manager 701-328-5234
Harries Alison aharries@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater - Database Mgmt 701-328-5217
Husband Heather hhusband@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - TMDLs 701.537.2043
Kitzes Edwin ekitzes@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - TMDLs 701-328-5253
Lang Jeremy jmlang@nd.gov WQ — Permits - CAFO/AFO 701-328-5219
Larsen Aaron allarsen@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - Program Manager 701-328-5230
Nett Joe jnett@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management 701-328-5227
Nieraeth Shawna sNieraeth@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater 701-328-5267
O'Gorman Brian bogorman@nd.gov WQ — Spill Investigation 701-328-5177
Olson Paul paulrolson@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management 701-328-5233
Peterson Andrew awpeterson@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater 701-328-5294
Piper Dianna dpiper@nd.gov WQ — Administrative 701-328-5210
Rockeman Karl krockema@nd.gov WQ — Director 701-328-5225
Roerick Jeff jroerick@nd.gov WQ — Permits - Discharges 701-328-5240
Sandness Greg gsandnes@nd.gov WQ — Watershed Management - NPS 701-328-5232
Sandvick Duane dsandvick@nd.gov WQ — Permits - Stormwater 701-328-5260
Schuett Patrick pschuett@nd.gov WQ — Permits - Database Mgmt 701-328-5235
Souder Taylor tSouder@nd.gov WQ — Spill Investigation 701-328-5236
Stockdill Scott sjstockdill@nd.gov WQ — Spill Investigation 701-328-5241
Strommen Rachel rstrommen@nd.gov WQ — Permits - CAFO/AFO 701-328-5244
Suess Bill bsuess@nd.gov WQ — Spill Investigation - Program Manager 701-328-5216
Suggs Shannon ssuggs@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater 701-328-6409
Swanberg Samantha sswanberg@nd.gov WQ — Permits - Stormwater 701-328-5239
Uhlman Jim juhlman@nd.gov WQ — Groundwater 701-328-5296
Waldron Feld Sarah sfeld@nd.gov WQ — Permits 701-328-5237
Wax Peter pwax@nd.gov WQ — Special Projects 701-328-5268