Railroad Commission of Texas (RRC) Geologic Criteria for Groundwater Protection
Robert Traylor Railroad Commission of Texas, Austin, Texas 78720
Within the Oil & Gas Division of the RRC, a separate Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU) provides key groundwater information to the RRC in its regulation of the Texas petroleum industry. Per RRC rules the GAU designates the occurrence of protected groundwater and geologic isolation of protected groundwater. The GAU was formed in September 2011 when the Texas Legislature moved the groundwater advisory team from the Texas Commission of Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to the RRC. Previously, the RRC had sought official groundwater protection recommendations from the TCEQ and its predecessors since 1955. Three levels of groundwater quality are distinguished in GAU recommendations: 1) Drinking Water Quality Groundwater of 1000 ppm Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and less; 2) Useable-Quality Groundwater of 3000 ppm TDS and less; and 3) Underground Sources of Drinking Water (USDW) of 10,000 ppm TDS, as defined by the Environmental Protection Agency. In addition to water quality advisory, the GAU reviews applications for disposal of produced water by underground injection. The GAU examines the proposed injection zones for geologic isolation from Useable- Quality Groundwater and that the disposal zones are not within or above a USDW.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90158©2012 GCAGS and GC-SEPM 6nd Annual Convention, Austin, Texas, 21-24 October 2012