Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU)
The Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU) provides Groundwater Protection Determinations for surface casing, underground injection and other underground activities.
If you are an oil or gas operator in Texas, the Railroad Commission of Texas may require you to obtain a Groundwater Protection Determination, which states the groundwater and additional isolation zones that should be protected for a well or multiple wells within a specified area.
Groundwater Protection Determination Request (Form GW-1)
To request a Groundwater Protection Determination, submit the following documents:
- A Form GW-1, which can be completed in two different ways:
Groundwater Protection Determination (Form GW-2)
The Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU) provides three types of Groundwater Protection Determinations.
Groundwater Protection Determination
- This type of Groundwater Protection Determination, where possible, provides top and bottom of fresh water, which is generally less than 1,000 mg/L total dissolved solids (TDS), and
- The Base of Usable-Quality Water (BUQW), generally 3,000 mg/L TDS or less and other waters known to be used or identified as sources of desalinization water.
- This type of Groundwater Protection Determination is used for new drills, cathodic protection, re-entry, well integrity test, microseismic boreholes, injection into a producing zone, plug and abandon, and conversion of an oil and gas well to a water well.
Groundwater Protection Determination for Saltwater Disposal Wells
- This type of Groundwater Protection Determination provides the base of the Underground Source of Drinking Water (USDW), less than 10,000 mg/L TDS, and
- Verifies geologic isolation from the Base of Usable-Quality Water (BUQW).
Groundwater Protection Determination for Seismic Survey
- This type of Groundwater Protection Determination provides a range of depths for the Base of Usable-Quality Water (BUQW) across the seismic survey.
Processing Time Frames
Groundwater Protection Determinations are intended to be processed in accordance with the following timelines after the application is determined to be administratively complete:
- Non-expedited letter ($250): ten (10) business days,
- Expedited letter ($437.50): four (4) business days.
- Effective February 1, 2016, an application fee of $100 is required for a Groundwater Protection Determination. The application fee is also subject to a 150 percent ($150) surcharge required by Statewide Rule 78(n). Therefore, a total of $250 must be remitted to the Railroad Commission of Texas with each Form GW-1, Groundwater Protection Determination Request Form. For additional information, reference the Notice to Operators: Groundwater Protection Determination Application Fee and Surcharge. Additional fees apply to expedite the application.
- An expedite fee of $75 is required for an expedited Groundwater Protection Determination. The application fee is also subject to a 150 percent ($112.50) surcharge required by Statewide Rule 78(n). Therefore, a total of $187.50 must be remitted to the Railroad Commission of Texas to expedite each Form GW-1. The application fee plus the expedite fee after a surcharge of 150% is a total of $437.50.
- Expedited processing is not available for Saltwater Disposal or Seismic Survey determination letter requests.
- A scaled map showing the well location and surrounding survey lines can be created and printed using the Railroad Commission of Texas' Public GIS Viewer. This viewer will allow you to locate and retrieve details for an existing well and determine the coordinates for a proposed well.
Last Updated: 3/21/2016 1:54:37 PM