Publications

GWPC and its partnering organizations produce reports, white papers, and publications related to groundwater, source water, UIC, and oil and gas. Publications range from broad topic area pamphlets written for laymen and the general public, to more in-depth reports on topics such as shale gas and state groundwater regulations and processes.

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09/2020

State of Kansas Class II UIC Program Peer Review

Published September 2020

04/2020

State of California Class II UIC Program Peer Review

This report is a snapshot of the California Class II UIC program as it existed in June 2018. The review team performed an in-depth review of the California UIC Class II program via a review of California laws and regulations, responses to a questionnaire, and a two-day state interview of DOGGR, SWRCB and Regional Water Board staff and management involved in the UIC program.

02/2020

U.S. Produced Water Volumes And Management Practices In 2017

In February 2020, the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and Ground Water Research & Education Foundation (GWREF) released the report, “U.S. Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices in 2017.”This report focuses solely on produced water volumes and the types of water management practices that are used. It entails a third set of data, spaced five years apart, of produced water volumes and management. This will serve as an excellent resource for state and federal members, researchers, and others. For further information about this report please contact Mike Nickolaus at the GWPC [email protected], 405.516.4972.

09/2019

Colorado Idle Wells Peer Assessment

The State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange (Exchange) has released a peer assessment of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's (COGCC’s) idle well program. The Exchange is a partnership between the Ground Water Protection Council (GPWC) and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) with a mission to assist states’ efforts to continuously improve their oil and gas regulatory programs. At the request of the COGCC, oil and gas regulators from Alabama, Alaska, and Arkansas reviewed Colorado's regulations relating to idle wells. In Colorado, idle wells represent any well that is shut-in, temporarily abandoned, suspended, or idle for any other reason and not properly plugged and abandoned to the requirements of the state. Through the Exchange assessment process, a team of state peers evaluates the appropriateness, effectiveness, and efficiency of existing regulations, regulatory initiatives, or overall programs. These efforts allow states to draw on the expertise of their peers and others for input on a broad range of topics depending on the requesting state’s needs. In Colorado, idle wells are wells that are shut-in, temporarily abandoned, suspended, or idle for any other reason and not properly plugged and abandoned to the requirements of the state

09/2019

New Mexico Class II UIC Program Peer Review

In September, 2019 the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division (OCD) requested that the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) conduct a focused Peer Review of their Class II UIC program. These reviews were reinitiated nearly 4 years ago as part of the State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange (a joint project of the GWPC and the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC)). Reviews have been conducted in 5 states since 2015. They involve an evaluation of the effectiveness of a state’s Class II UIC program, which demonstrates the ability of the UIC program to protect USDWs and public health. Equal effectiveness with Section 1422 SDWA programs is the standard required of Section 1425 delegated programs. This report details the findings of the peer review team, provides feedback on positive aspects of the program and offers suggestions for enhancing the effectiveness of the Class II UIC program managed by the OCD

06/2019

2019 Exchange Peer Assessment: Colorado Well Integrity Regulations

The State Oil & Gas Regulatory Exchange (the Exchange) released today a Peer Assessment of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission's Well Integrity program. The Exchange is an outreach program led by the states and facilitated by the Ground Water Protection Council and Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission with a mission to assist states’ efforts to continuously improve their oil and gas regulatory programs. In 2018, COGCC requested the Exchange conduct a peer assessment of the Commission’s Well Integrity regulations as well as other topics. Through this peer assessment by the Exchange Assessment Team, the Commission sought to obtain the perspective of other state oil and gas regulators on Colorado’s regulatory regime that specifically focused on insights into best practices and leading edge thought among state oil and gas regulators from around the country. The review team was tasked to identify any perceived regulatory gaps or inefficiencies, insights into other states’ approaches to regulating the same or similar topics, and suggested modifications to existing or addition of new rules. 

06/2019

Produced Water Report: Regulations, Current Practices & Needs

The GWPC released a 'Produced Water Report' on June 24, 2019, that examines current regulations, practices, and research needed to expand the use of produced water, a byproduct of oil and gas production, as a resource.

Led by its member states, the GWPC brought together a collaboration of scientists, regulatory officials, members of academia, the oil and gas industry, and environmental groups to explore roles produced water might play in developing greater water certainty. The report consists of three focused modules which include:

  • Module 1: Current Legal, Regulatory & Operational Frameworks
  • Module 2: Produced Water Reuse in Unconventional Oil & Gas Operations
  • Module 3: Produced Water Reuse & Research Needs Outside Oil & Gas Operations

Freshwater stress is driven by rising populations, regional droughts, declining groundwater levels and several other factors. When surface water is scarce, communities and industries typically turn to groundwater to meet their freshwater needs.  Produced water may become a resource that could reduce the use of freshwater for some of these needs in specific locations.  

11/2018

SOGRE Peer Assessment: Virginia DMME, Division Of Oil & Gas

The State Oil & Gas Regulatory Exchange (SOGRE) released today a Peer Assessment of Virginia's Department of Mines, Minerals, and Energy, Division of Oil and Gas. SOGRE is an outreach program created under the States First Initiative. The mission of the SOGRE is to assist states to continually improve state oil and gas regulatory programs by providing member states consultation and program assessment services targeted to their specific needs. Virginia’s Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME): Division of Gas and Oil (Division) regulates the exploration and production of natural gas and oil in the Commonwealth through the Virginia Gas and Oil Act (the Act) and its attendant regulations. As a follow up to a 2017 STRONGER Review, Deputy Director, Bradley Lambert approached the State Oil & Gas Regulatory Exchange (SOGRE) in writing requesting additional analysis. Mr. Lambert said, “DMME appreciated STRONGER’s largely positive feedback and has incorporated many of its recommendations. However, DMME believes there are a couple of aspects of its regulatory program that could benefit from a more in depth, granular review. Therefore, DMME respectfully requests SOGRE examine the following areas: The existing laws and regulations that govern exploration and production of oil and gas resources in the eastern half of the Commonwealth (Commonly referred to as the Tidewater region) Whether DMME should adopt regulations governing Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material (NORM) and whether those regulations should apply statewide or only in specific regions.

11/2017

2017 Revision: Potential Injection Induced Seismicity Associated With Oil & Gas Development: A Primer On Technical & Regulatory Considerations Informing Risk Management & Mitigation

States First, an initiative of the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and the Ground Water Protection Council, is pleased to announce the release of its Second Edition of the report entitled “Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil & Gas Development:  A Primer on Technical and Regulatory Considerations Informing Risk Management and Mitigation.”  This 2017 revision of the 2015 report contains numerous additions, updates, clarifications and corrections which will help regulators and the public understand aspects of induced seismicity and its relationship to underground injection and hydraulic fracturing.  The report was developed by a workgroup consisting of scientists, engineers and regulators and represents a consensus view on the issues surrounding induced seismicity.  For further information about this report please contact Mike Nickolaus at the GWPC <a href=

11/2017

State Oil And Natural Gas Regulations Designed To Protect Water Resources (3rd Edition)

The Ground Water Protection Council is pleased to announce the release of its report “State Oil and Natural Gas Regulations Designed to Protect Water Resources”, Third Edition.  This report provides a compiled list of regulatory elements such as permitting, well integrity, hydraulic fracturing, well plugging, pits, tanks and spill management.  These are presented in a graphical form which details the number of states that implement them.  In addition, the report describes the regulatory framework under which oil and natural gas field operations are managed and suggests a series of regulatory considerations for agencies to review and, as appropriate, implement.  The report covers regulations as of January, 2016.

11/2017

State Of West Virginia Class II UIC Peer Review

The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) conducts the Class II UIC Peer Review process under the joint GWPC and Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission (IOGCC) “StatesFirst” Initiative. The purpose of this process is to assess the effectiveness of Class II UIC programs that have been delegated to states under Sections 1422 or 1425 of the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA). The peer review of the Class II UIC program administered by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection, Office of Oil and Gas (OOG) was conducted by a review team made up of UIC managers and technical staff from state Class II agencies of states outside of the USEPA region in which West Virginia resides (Region 3). This included an in-state interview of OOG staff and management at the OOG office in Charleston, West Virginia on March 21, 2017. The in-state interview was based on responses to a comprehensive questionnaire completed by the state UIC staff and follow-up questions posed to the UIC staff during the interview. In addition, the interview team members reviewed the state’s statutes and rules governing the UIC program and other materials provided by the state.

05/2017

Underground Gas Storage Regulatory Considerations

A national Natural Gas Storage Work Group released this report on underground gas storage that evaluates potential vulnerabilities at gas storage operations and identifies prospective regulatory responses for consideration by state and federal agencies. Most underground gas storage facilities have safe histories of operation and allow large supplies of gas to be stored during times of low demand, and withdrawn from storage when demand for natural gas is high; thereby reducing the need for larger transmission pipelines and allowing for continuous supply of gas in the event of supply interruptions. However, when an accident occurs it can have dramatic impacts to public health, safety and the environment. The work group, which was led by states from across the country and was organized by the Interstate Oil and Gas Compact Commission and Ground Water Protection Council, developed the report “Underground Gas Storage Regulatory Considerations” to serve as a resource for regulatory agencies and includes input from experts in academia, industry, non-profit organizations, and other state and federal agencies.

02/2017

Ground Water Report to the Nation

Our groundwater resources are in serious need of attention. Abundant, high quality, low-cost groundwater resources are fundamental to the long-term growth and vitality of our nation, yet this most important resource is often overlooked, if not neglected. Attention to the protection and management of groundwater has consistently lagged behind that given to surface waters, meaning that historic and current water resource laws and policies deal primarily with the protection and management of our more visible lakes, rivers, and wetlands.

The purpose of the Ground Water Report to the Nation is to highlight some of the more prevalent threats to groundwater, share sucess stories, and make recommendations for improved groundwater protection and awareness.  

Note: Please visit the Ground Water Report to the Nation topics page for individual chapters of the report.

02/2017

Alternative Water Supplies

Alternative Water Supplies section of the Groundwater Report to the Nation

01/2017

SOGRE Peer Review: Idaho

The State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange (SOGRE), an innovative regulatory improvement program created under the States First Initiative by two state-based organizations, finds Idaho’s oil and gas regulatory structure to be mostly in line with the regulatory practices of other oil and gas producing states, and provides guidance for Idaho as its regulation of oil and gas exploration, drilling and production continues to evolve. Team members of this SOGRE assessment presented its final assessment report of Idaho’s oil and gas statutory authorities and implementing regulations during a joint meeting of the Idaho Senate Resources and Environment Committee and Idaho House Resources and Conservation Committee today. This is the final report.

01/2017

Ohio Class II Peer Review

This review of the State of Ohio was finalized in January 2017 by a team of Class II program managers from other state programs and overseen by the GWPC.  We would like to thank the State of Ohio for their assistance to the review team and we look forward to working with other states as we move forward with additional reviews.

08/2016

Well Integrity Regulatory Elements

These "Regulatory Elements for Well Integrity" are intended to provide regulators with a set of ideas to consider when improving oversight of the permitting, construction, operation and plugging of oil and gas wells. The Elements were developed by a group of state officials who met informally in conjunction with GWPC meetings in Nashville, Tennessee (September 23 – 26, 2012), Sarasota, Florida (January 22 – 24, 2012), and St. Louis (September 22 – 25, 2013).

04/2016

State Of Nebraska Class II UIC Program Peer Review

This review of the State of Nebraska was finalized in April, 2016 by a team of Class II program managers from other state programs and overseen by the GWPC.  We would like to thank the State of Nebraska and the staff of the Nebraska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for their assistance to the review team and we look forward to working with other states as we move forward with additional reviews.

12/2015

Oklahoma Produced Water Project Summary

The principal objective of this project was to compile information in order to better understand produced water discharge, disposal, and re-use issues, regulatory requirements, options and opportunities in the state of Oklahoma.

11/2015

State Of Utah Class II UIC Program Peer Review

GWPC announces the publication of the first Class II UIC program peer review conducted under the revamped peer review process. This process, a joint GWPC and States First initiative, is designed to assist states by evaluating their Class II UIC programs, recognizing the positive aspects of a program, and offering suggestions for improvement. This review of the State of Utah, which was conducted in November, 2015 by a team of Class II program managers from other state programs and overseen by the GWPC, is the first of what GWPC hopes will be a series of state reviews to be conducted in the future.  We would like to thank the State of Utah and the staff of the Division of Oil, Gas, and Mining for their assistance to the review team and we look forward to working with other states as we move forward into 2016 and beyond.

09/2015

Potential Injection-Induced Seismicity Associated with Oil & Gas Development: A Primer on Technical and Regulatory Considerations Informing Risk Management and Mitigation

Thirteen states partnered through a multi-state initiative called StatesFirst in 2015 to share and summarize current knowledge related to earthquakes potentially caused by human activity, otherwise referred to as induced seismicity.

The work group comprised of members of state oil and natural gas and geological agencies and other advisory experts from academia, industry, non-profit organizations and federal agencies released a Primer to provide a guide for regulatory agencies to evaluate and develop strategies to mitigate and manage risks of injection induced seismicity. The Primer also outlines how states can best provide information to the public in a transparent and effective manner.

04/2015

Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices (2012 Data)

4/15/2015 The Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) is pleased to provide an updated version of our 2009 report on U.S. Produced Water Volumes and Management Practices.  This 2015 report, which contains data for 2012, discusses the amounts of water brought to the surface during oil and gas production and details many of the current minimization, treatment, re-use and disposal protocols used to manage produced water.  It also contains state by state produced water summaries.  The report was developed for the GWPC by John Veil of Veil Environmental, LLC.  We think you will find this report both thorough and valuable. 

01/2015

State Oil And Gas Regulations Designed To Protect Water Resources

In step with dramatic industry growth over the past five years, states have substantially improved ground water protection laws and regulations governing oil and natural gas production. State regulatory strategies differ in response to unique local circumstances and characteristics; over time, they evolve to address public concerns about the safety and environmental impact of oil and gas development, as well as rapidly changing technologies, new field discoveries, revised leading operational practices, internal and external reviews, and regulatory experience.

04/2014

Overview Of Groundwater Protection Regulations In Oil And Gas States

This report is part of an update to the Ground Water Protection Council’s 2009 Report, State Oil and Gas Regulations Designed to Protect Water Resources.1 The purpose is to document and outline the range of definitions and requirements for protecting groundwater, based on the regulations of oil and gas agencies and water quality protection agencies in 27 oil and gas producing states. The report is divided into two parts, the first documents the groundwater protection standards for oil and gas agencies and the second part addresses the standards for the water quality protection agencies within the same states. The scope is limited to an overview of regulations that address groundwater quality protection standards through policy statements, definitions, technical requirements such as well casing and cementing depths, groundwater classification and groundwater protection standards. 

11/2013

OPPORTUNITIES TO PROTECT DRINKING WATER SOURCES AND ADVANCE WATERSHED GOALS THROUGH THE CLEAN WATER ACT

The topic of induced seismicity, or earthquakes caused by human activities, and in particular seismicity associated with hydraulic fracturing and disposal wells, has been the source of heightened interest and controversy over the past several years. To help disseminate factual information on the subject, the Ground Water Protection Council (GWPC) and its research arm, the Ground Water Research and Education Foundation (GWREF), decided to include sessions on induced seismicity in two of the organization’s 2013 conferences.

09/2013

Injection Wells: An Introduction To Their Use, Operation And Regulation

An introductory brochure on the use, operation, and regulation of underground injection wells.

01/2013

White Paper Summarizing 2013 Session On Induced Seismicity

This special technology transfer session for seismologists, regulators, and other stakeholders entitled “Assessing & Managing Risk of Induced Seismicity by Injection” was a part of the GWREF Spotlight Series.

07/2012

White Paper Summarizing 2012 Stray Gas Incidence & Response Forum

The purpose of the Forum was to explore the technical and scientific basis for stray gas investigations including the fundamentals of the physical and chemical properties of methane, and factors that influence the occurrence, migration, and fate of methane in the shallow subsurface environment. The conference agenda was structured to address the diverse topics and issues that should be considered during the course of an emergency stray gas incident response.

08/2011

State Oil & Gas Regulations Designed To Protect Water Resources

The role of state oil and gas agencies in protecting groundwater through investigation and regulatory reform.

01/2011

An Assessment Of State Needs For Regulating Geologic Sequestration Of Carbon Dioxide

This report lays a foundation for states to accurately project additional personnel and associated costs and supporting capital outlay for a Class VI primacy program for “large-scale” geosequestration. The Underground Injection Control (UIC) program, expected to be the resident instrument for implementing the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s sequestration regulatory program, has provided the framework for the safe and effective isolation of fluids injected underground for 30 years.

04/2009

Shale Gas Primer

A primer on the development of shale gas reservoirs through hydraulic fracturing and other means.