Minor Permits, Hydrostatic Test Discharges, Domestic Wastewater, & Other Permits

Minor Permits

Rule 8 minor permits are authorities that are issued by the appropriate District Office for a duration of no longer than 60 days and are limited in scope. Typically, these permits authorize a "one time" disposal of oil and gas waste. Minor permits are commonly issued for:

  • One time, off-lease landfarming of water-based drilling fluid.
  • One time, on-lease landtreatment of oily waste.
  • Disposal of basic sediment by burial, or for reuse.
  • Disposal of drilling fluid in casing or annulus.
  • Hydrostatic Test Water Discharge
  • Recycling of Domestic Wastewater

See the Guidelines for Minor Permits for more information.

Hydrostatic Test Water Discharge to Land Surface

Permits to discharge hydrostatic test (HT) water to land surface are a minor permit processed by Environmental Permits & Support in Austin. Pipelines must be tested to ensure safety. One method to ensure safety is to fill the pipe with water to see if it can handle the hydrostatic load. Once the water enters the pipe, it is considered oil and gas waste and so it cannot be discharged to the land surface without a permit. Apply here for a HT permit. 

Note: The discharge of HT wastewater to land surface is subject to permit conditions and must ensure that no waste is released to surface waters of the state. There is no fee associated with the application to discharge HT wastewater to land surface. If HT wastewater will reach surface water, you must apply for a discharge permit from the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ). Please visit the TCEQ website for information about Oil and Gas Wastewater Permits:  https://www.tceq.texas.gov/assistance/industry/oil-and-gas/oil-and-gas-wastewater-permits

Recycling of Domestic Wastewater

Notice to Operators was issued on April 3, 2016, that allows the operator of a lease to beneficially recycle treated domestic wastewater and waste streams generated from mobile drinking water treatment systems on oil an gas drill sites. This minor permit will last for 60 days and may be extended. Application requirements and conditions for a permit to recycle treated domestic wastewater and mobile drinking water treatment system wastewater are contained in the document titled “Application Requirements and Permit Conditions for Beneficial Recycling of Treated Domestic Wastewater and Mobile Drinking Water Treatment System Wastewater at Drill Sites.”  

Applicants may use the Domestic Wastewater Application Worksheet as an example of a minor permit application for recycling domestic wastewater.
The Application Worksheet must be completed and include the unique identifiers (mobile unit number) for the domestic wastewater treatment trailer and the mobile drinking water treatment trailer. To assist in the process, the application should include a copy of the drilling permit for each treatment location.

Effective February 1, 2020 the minor permits for the Recycling of Domestic Wastewater will processed and issued by Environmental Permits & Support in Austin. Applications may be submitted via email to Domestic.Wastewater@rrc.texas.gov, or by hard copy to:
Railroad Commission of Texas
Oil and Gas Division
Technical Permitting
P. O. Box 12967
Austin, TX 78711-2967

Effective July 18, 2022 the RRC has revised its program for recycling of domestic wastewater (DWW) and mobile drinking water treatment system (MDWTS) wastewaters at oil and gas sites. In addition to the location-specific minor permit described above, operators may instead apply for a District-Wide DWW and/or MDWTS recycling permit. 

More details and application information can be found here: Recycling Treated Domestic Wastewater and Mobile Drinking Water Treatment System Wastewaters

Other Permits

Oil and gas waste disposal methods that are not authorized by Commission rules and do not have a permit application form or permit application outlined in the Surface Waste Management Manual (SWMM) may be applied for by submitting a letter of request. It is recommended that the applicant review the SWMM to find an application that most closely resembles the disposal method that they want permitted and use that application as a template. A general outline of permit applications can be found on the Permit Types and Information page.