Case Study 5: Economic Assessment of a National Regulation—Waste Disposal Wells
Pages 12

The Underground Injection Control (UIC) Program, established under the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) in the United States, provides protection for underground sources of drinking water by setting standards and controls that govern disposal of liquid wastes through wells into the subsurface environment. The UIC program established fi ve classes of injection wells described previously and listed again here:

Beneath lowermost underground source of drinking water

Class I-for hazardous wastes, industrial non-hazardous liquids, or municipal wastewater Class II-for brines and oil and gas production fl uids Class III-for fl uids associated with solution mining

Into or above underground source of drinking water

Class IV-for hazardous and radioactive wastes (these wells are banned) Class V-for other non-hazardous fl uids in shallow wells (typically)

The rule for which this case study assesses the economics addresses two categories of high-risk wells in Class V: motor vehicle waste disposal wells and large-capacity cesspools. The United States EPA has estimated that as many as 800,000 Class V wells exist in the United States; of these, an estimated 21,692 are motor vehicle waste disposal wells and 9,583 are large capacity cesspools (p. 10). The defi nitions of these wells are

This case study will focus on motor vehicle waste disposal wells and the regulatory and transaction costs in its implementation. Exhibit CS5.1 describes in general terms the regulation of Class V motor vehicle waste disposal wells in the United States to protect underground sources of drinking water.