Are class I disposal wells safe? 

Class I industrial disposal wells are the safest, most effective way to manage many dilute liquid wastes. Protection of drinking and irrigation water is the primary concern in the construction, operation and regulatory oversight of such wells. Deep well technology has been proven through wide use over more than 50 years. There has never been an instance of surface or drinking water contamination due to operation of a Class I disposal well that was sited, constructed and operated according to current US EPA standards. 
  • The US Government has found Class I wells are safer than virtually all other waste disposal practices.
  • The US EPA reports that approximately 20 billion gallons of liquid waste is safely and permanently disposed of each year in the United States using Class I disposal wells.
  • In the United States, Class I industrial deep wells are built to stricter standards and operated under significantly tighter regulation and oversight than oil and gas related disposal wells. Such oilfield wells have been used throughout the country during the past century to protect the environment from the surface disposal of produced oil and gas related brines.
  • Based on a number of academic studies and the collection of data from existing well sites, waste concentrations are reduced by natural forces in the disposal formation after injection. In addition to dilution by mixing with natural brines, neutralization, adsorption, precipitation, other reactions and microbial degradation occur in the injection zone. This serves as waste treatment underground.
  • Disposal wells of various types are used in countries throughout the world to safely manage liquid waste by permanently isolating it from the environment. Environment Canada, the primary environmental regulatory agency in Canada, approves and permits disposal into deep wells in appropriate areas as a responsible option for the management of liquid wastes.
  • The Kansas Department of Health and Environment says that " injection into a Class I well is considered an environmentally sound practice". The state of Kansas has several hundred oil and gas disposal wells and almost 50 Class I industrial disposal wells.
  • The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) has documentation that no instances of well failure or contamination have occurred due to Class I well operation in the state. In addition, the Michigan Deep Well Injection Committee reported that "Most of Michigan has the subsurface geologic conditions required for proper waste disposal by deep well injection".
  • The largest concentration of disposal wells in the United States is in Texas (including almost 100 Class I wells). The Texas Natural Resources Conservation Commission that regulates these injection systems says that deep well injection has "an excellent record of environmental protection".