GWPC Reviews Ohio Class II Underground Injection Control Program

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting groundwater resources throughout the nation, recently released its review of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (DOGRM) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program.

“The purpose of state reviews is to evaluate the elements of state Class II UIC programs, highlight their positive aspects and offer suggestions for program improvement; where appropriate,” said Mike Nickolaus, special projects director for GWPC. “By requesting these reviews, the participating states continue to demonstrate their commitment to continuous regulatory improvement, effective program management and proactive environmental protection.”

The GWPC review process assesses the effectiveness of Class II disposal well programs under states’ regulatory primacy. A review team, consisting of two volunteer state Class II regulators, a GWPC staff member, a facilitator and a federal observer from the United States Environmental Protection Agency conducted a structured assessment of Ohio’s regulations and field enforcement program.

ODNR oversees 217 Class II disposal wells. The review identified several strengths, including the presence of highly experienced field inspectors onsite to witness construction activities and perform frequent, unannounced inspections of injection wells. Notably, the review highlights DOGRM’s responsiveness in investigating complaints about brine disposal and in effectively resolving violations that may occur.

The review further highlights DOGRM’s effectiveness and consistent approach throughout the UIC program. “DOGRM has devoted substantial resources toward the UIC program in recent years which has led to the development of a very knowledgeable staff with expertise in many areas,” the report says. “The review team was impressed with the quality of staff and the manner in which the program was being implemented.”

“These program reviews, provided by experts in their respective fields, are critical in assisting in our efforts to help maintain clean, safe drinking water for Ohioans, while also providing a responsible regulatory framework for our oil and gas industry,” said DOGRM Chief Richard Simmers.

The full report is available at: http://www.gwpc.org/sites/default/files/2017OhioClassIIPeerReviewFinal_0.pdf