Underground Injection Control Program

USEPA Land Status Determination

The Underground Injection Control Program is authorized and directed to:

Support and implement Navajo Underground Injection regulations in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act.

Obtain primary enforcement authority from USEPA to implement and enforce the Navajo Underground Injection Control Regulations.

Monitor and enforce the proper closure of unlined pits used for discharge of oil-gas waste, and other related groundwater protection activities (e.g. monitoring the plugging and abandonment of wells) under the Safe Drinking Water Act, the the Clean Water Act, and the Resources Conservation and Recovery Act.

Investigate oil and produced water releases, ensure that responsible regulatory agencies are informed of such incidents and initiate appropriate action to clean up the contaminated area.


The underground injection control (UIC) program is essential to protect underground sources of drinking water (USDW) from contaminates and hazardous wastes that are injected underground. Specific examples that a UIC program may control include: regulating underground injection by petroleum companies on Tribal lands, controlling septic tank subsurface leaching wells, and the locating and plugging of abandoned injection wells.

Under no circumstances are injected fluids to cause USDW to exceed drinking waste maximum contaminant levels (MCLs) in groundwater.

To be granted Primacy (Absolute authority) from the underground injection control (UIC) program, a Tribe must demonstrate to the USEPA that its program contains the following provisions:


Prohibition of unauthorized injections.


Prihibition of endangering drinking water sources.


Prohibition of movement of fluids into a USDW (Underground Source of Drinking Water).


Authority to issue permits or rules.


Authority to impose conditions on authorized injection activities.


Authority to impose compliance evaluation requirements.


Authority to take enforcement actions.


Authority to public participation in permit processing.


Authority to apply technical criteria and standards for the control of underground injection.


Classification of injection wells.


Elimination of Class IV wells (wells used to dispose of hazardous and radioactive wastes).


Authority to identify aquifers that are underground sources of drinking water (USDW) and to exempt certain aquifers.


Authority over federal agencies and persons operating on federally owned or leased property.


Authority to revise underground injection control programs.


Authority to make policies and keep records and make reports on its program activites as prescribed by the USEPA.


Authority to make available to the USEPA upon request, without restriction, any information obtained or used in the administration of the program, including information claimed by permit applicants as confidential.