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  Streamlined Permitting Process for Renewable Energy Resources Back BWPC Home Page   
  Underground Injection Control Permit for Renewable Energy Resources

If a facility proposes to construct, alter, repair, abandon, or use/operate any injection well on any lands within this State, an Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit is required for a renewable energy resource facility. This does not include injection wells within the limits of any Indian reservation or dependent Indian colony under the jurisdiction of the Federal Government.

The Safe Drinking Water Act of 1977 authorized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) to establish regulations for underground injection control (UIC). State of Nevada UIC regulations were adopted and became effective in July of 1987.

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) , within the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, was designated as the lead agency in administering the State UIC program, and has authority under NRS 445A to regulate all classes of injection wells. Primacy for the federal UIC program was granted to Nevada in October, 1988.

Nevada has divided injection wells into five classes pursuant to federal regulations. Renewable energy projects requiring injection wells fall under Class V.

Specifically, a UIC permit for Class V well applies to geothermal injection well used in contact and noncontact heating and aquaculture, and in the production of energy. For more program information see the following links.

Streamlining the Process

The most important step an applicant can do to streamline the application process is to arrange a pre-application meeting with Bureau of Water Pollution Control staff to discuss the project and obtain the necessary information for a complete and comprehensive UIC application. Other possible permits can be discussed at this time.

A UIC permit for a geothermal project usually covers injection wells and surface basin discharges, eliminating the need for a second permit a ground water discharge permit. Therefore, the applicant should ensure the application covers discharges to surface basins in addition to injection into wells. This further streamlines the process and cost to the applicant.

The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection has worked with the Nevada Division of Minerals to streamline the process of obtaining an UIC construction permit required under UIC regulations. As of March 2008, the drilling permit obtained from NDOM shall satisfy the UIC requirement. Applicants should be aware of UIC injection well requirements.

The timeline graphic below represents the regulatory time frame. With a complete and comprehensive application detailing a well designed facility, and provided there are no unforeseen delays, the time to obtain an UIC permit can be reduced to approximately 120 days. This time frame is highly variable and could be longer depending on response time of and information provided by the applicant.

Where to apply for a Class V Injection Permit

To obtain a UIC permit, complete the permit applications UIC Form U200: UIC Permit Application [6 Page PDF] and UIC Form U202: Class 5 Geothermal Well Attachments [6 Page PDF] and submit to the NDEP, Bureau of Water Pollution Control, UIC program in Carson City for approval. Additional information may be required by the Director to ensure the proposed operation will not degrade an underground source of drinking water. Final injection authorization for each well comes after the following events occur:

  1. UIC permit has been issued
  2. UIC Injection Well Completion Report - Form U120 - is received and reviewed by NDEP
  3. UIC program issues authorization for each injection well

Applications for discharge permits should be submitted at least 180 days prior to needing final authorization. Once the appropriate fees,[2 Page PDF] UIC Form U200: UIC Permit Application [6 Page PDF], UIC Form U202: Class 5 Geothermal Well Attachments [6 Page PDF], associated technical information are submitted, a completeness review of the application will be concluded within 30 days and a technical review of the project concluded within 60 days. All information will be evaluated to determine compliance with applicable statutes and regulations.

Upon completion of the evaluation, and following submission of any necessary supplemental information to NDEP, a notice of intent to issue or deny the permit will be drafted for noticing in the local paper and on the NDEP public notice web page to solicit comments from the public.

The public review and comment period for all injection permits is 30 days. A public hearing may be requested. Within 30 days after the end of the public notice and comment period a UIC permit will be issued or denied. Final injection approval comes with the issuance of the final permit and review and approval of each injection well.

Notes

  • Submission of a complete UIC application, for Geothermal Power Production, consists of a completed Form U200 and the completion of UIC Form U202. Additional information may be required by the Director to ensure the proposed operation will not degrade an underground source of drinking water.
  • Since a UIC Permit may be issued before significant geological and hydrological data are obtained through drilling of production and injection wells, an issued UIC permit may need to be modified based on receipt of new information.
  • A UIC permit can cover injection wells and surface basin discharges in one permit, eliminating the need for two BWPC permits.

It is recommended that an applicant arrange a pre-application meeting with the following entities:

Applicants should use the meetings to present the project and obtain the necessary information for a complete and comprehensive application. At a minimum, the applicant should meet with the UIC program to discuss details of the application.

Governing Regulations & Statutes

The UIC Program regulates injection wells under the authority of the Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) 445A.300 - 445A.730 and the Nevada Administrative Code (NAC) 445A.810 - 445A.925, inclusive.

NRS 445A.300 - 445A.730 provides the legislative authority to develop and implement a regulatory program for the UIC program. The State Environmental Commission has the authority to adopt regulations pursuant to these statutes.

NAC 445A.810 - 445A.925 defines regulatory standards for the UIC program and Water Pollution Control. Regulations are enforced and implemented by NDEP and the Bureau of Water Pollution Control.

For additional information concerning UIC permits contact the Bureau of Water Pollution Control at (775) 687-9418.

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