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No significant fiscal implication to the State is anticipated.
The bill would allow dual authorization of Class II and Class V injection wells for the disposal of non-hazardous brine from a desalination operation or nonhazardous drinking water treatment residuals (DWTR) into a Class II injection well permitted by the Railroad Commission (RRC). The bill would allow the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) to provide, by individual permit, general permit, or authorization-by-rule, a Class V injection well authorization for the disposal of such brine and DWTR in a Class II well permitted by the RRC
TCEQ reports that the agency's regional offices currently conduct investigations to verify the existence of Class V wells at non-Class II sites. The bill provides that TCEQ would have authorization over Class V injection at Class II wells that are currently solely under RRC's jurisdiction. Based on this new jurisdiction, TCEQ would need the capability to conduct investigations at Class II well sites. It is anticipated that current TCEQ investigative staffing would be adequate to handle these additional investigations if the number of new Class V authorizations at Class II wells are low. Thus, it is expected that the TCEQ could use existing resources to implement the provisions of the bill.
RRC expects no significant fiscal implications as a result of the bill's passage.
(Second chamber sponsor is Senator Estes.)
HB 2230, if passed, would add a new section to the Water Code (Section 1, Subchapter B, Chapter 27, Section 27.026) which would allow equipment used in injection wells (Class V injection wells) to be used for desalination projects (nonhazardous brine, Class II injection wells). This allowance is only to be granted if it has been permitted by the Railroad Commission under Subchapter C. The bill also includes a subsection noting that the Railroad Commission and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality shall enter a memorandum of understanding regarding this section.
The injection well classification used by the TCEQ mimics the system developed by the Environmental Protection Agency. The motivation behind HB 2230 is to make better use of injection wells already in place -- namely to use Class V wells for the storage of nonhazardous brine. Class V wells are numerous and could be better utilized if this change were made. The TCEQ and Railroad Commission believe that the system they have in place could accommodate such a change. Moving this barrier to well use would enhance limited government. We support HB 2230.