North Central Texas Area Groundwater Protection Determination
Railroad Commission (RRC) rules require operators to obtain a Groundwater Protection Determination from the RRC’s Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU) before drilling a well. The determination identifies the depth to which surface casing must be set and cemented to protect usable-quality water.
Normally, a Groundwater Protection Determination is issued on a well-specific basis for a point location. However, in certain parts of the state, a Groundwater Protection Determination may be issued for a designated area when available information indicates the water depth is uniform in that area. As part of the RRC Texas Oilfield Relief Initiative, the GAU has identified areas with consistent groundwater protection depths in the following fourteen (14) North Central Texas counties: Archer, Baylor, Callahan, Foard, Haskell, Jones, Knox, Shackelford, Stephens, Taylor, Throckmorton, Wichita, Wilbarger, and Young.
The Groundwater Protection Determination
In the North Central Texas area, the groundwater protection depths for the listed survey abstracts are as follows:
“The interval from the land surface to 20 feet beneath the base of Quaternary deposits, or 20 feet into the top of the Permian red beds, or to a depth of 100 feet, whichever is deepest, must be protected.”
What If Usable-Quality Groundwater Is Deeper?
If an operator encounters conditions during drilling that are inconsistent with the North Central Texas Area Groundwater Protection Determination, the operator must install and cement surface casing to protect all usable-quality water and notify the District Office and the Groundwater Advisory Unit. Notification must include, at a minimum, a copy of the information and a description of how the information is inconsistent with the groundwater protection determination.
Using the North Central Texas Area Groundwater Protection Determination
The North Central Texas Area Groundwater Protection Determination applies to the survey abstracts in the 14-county area listed in the Excel spreadsheet . If the abstract for a specific proposed well location is not on the list, the operator must apply for an individual Groundwater Protection Determination (on-line Form GW-1 Application).
The District Office will check to make sure that the well you are completing or plugging is in an abstract on the list, so you must know the county, survey information and abstract number the well is in if the District Office asks for that information. Additionally, you must enter the correct county, survey information and abstract number on your Form W-2 and Form W-3/W-3A. If you apply for a Rule 13 casing exception, you will need to use the GW-2 letter .
The North Central Texas Area Groundwater Protection Determination does not apply to injection wells. You must submit a GW-1 Application and receive a GW-2 letter for any injection well.
Cathodic Protection Wells
The North Central Texas Area Groundwater Protection Determination does apply to Cathodic Protection (CP) wells. CP wells in the North Central Texas Area have their own specific CP well letter .