The illustration above is not a true representation of scale.  Class I injection wells can be extremely deep (more than 1,000 ft, typically several thousand to ten-thousand feet in depth).  These wells penetrate below many rock layers and are carefully sited and designed so as to not contaminate shallow usable fresh-water.


What wastes are disposed in class I injection wells? A wide variety of liquid wastes can be managed using deep injection well technology. Typically, these wastes are large water volume, low concentration waste streams that are aqueous and comprised of more than 95% water. Often these liquids have already been recycled or pre-treated and are not usable as a resource since they have little economic or energy value. Some common dilute wastes now managed via deep well disposal include:

  • Salt Water Brines

  • Dilute Hydrocarbons and Solvents

  • Heavy Metal Solutions

  • Agricultural Waste Waters

  • Storm Water and Municipal Waste

  • Meat & Crop Processing Liquids

  • Inorganic Solutions from Manufacturing

  • Industrial Cleaning Solutions

  • Groundwater Clean-ups

For comparison, the concentrations of disposed materials in many of these injected wastes are similar to mixing a two-gallon can of a product like salt into a large tank truck of fresh water (2 gallons / 4000 gallons ~ 500 parts per million).

What industries use deep well disposal? A wide variety of facilities throughout the United States now depend on deep injection wells for the safe disposal of liquid wastes. Worldwide, the oil and gas and mining industries use well technology to both produce product and safely manage waste by-products. Some of the industries in the United States that use industrial deep injection well technology include:

  • Mining

  • Metal Fabrication & Finishing

  • Fertilizer

  • Oil & Gas Production

  • Paper

  • Petroleum Refining & Storage

  • Aerospace

  • Pharmaceutical

  • Food

  • Agriculture

  • Textile

  • Manufacturing

  • Utilities

  • Chemicals

Where are disposal wells?

Are Class I disposal wells safe?

Who regulates class I disposal wells?

What is the nature of the liquid in the injection zone?

How do well operators prevent liquid backing up into the pipe and having nowhere to go?

Does the permitting process consider how long such a well can be used?

How are injection wells monitored to ensure safety and compliance with the law?


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