Underground Injection Control
UIC: Underground Injection Control
The success of the deep well Underground Injection Control (UIC) program in isolating massive volumes of pollutants from underground sources of drinking water and other parts of the ecosystem has led some national policy makers to assume that no additional funding is needed, even though new challenges and responsibilities continue to be added to the program.
The two most serious challenges and responsibilities confronting the UIC program today are:
- Some types of shallow injection wells, such as motor vehicle waste disposal wells, large-capacity cesspools, stormwater drainage wells, and some types of septic wells, continue to be among the most neglected sources of ground water contamination in the country.
- Technologies necessary for the management of residuals from water treatment and for the geosequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) will require very large numbers of new injection wells, far exceeding present program resource capabilities.
Without additional funding, federal and state UIC programs will not be able to eliminate the harmful impacts of high-risk types of shallow injection wells, nor maximize the benefits of safe underground injection to enable new technologies for providing safe drinking water and environmental protection.
Why the UIC program matters to ground water...
Underground injection refers to the placement of fluids into the subsurface through a well bore. The federal UIC Program, designed to prevent contamination of underground sources of drinking water (USDWs), covers wells used to inject a wide range of fluids, including oilfield brines; industrial, manufacturing, pharmaceutical, and municipal wastes; and water for solution mining. A “mature" regulatory” program suggests that the major processes are working smoothly, the principal issues are well understood, and significant problems encountered have been solved. While this is the case for Class I, II, III, and IV UIC well types, the Class V part of the UIC program has not kept pace with the rest of the program.
From the Ground Water Report to the Nation