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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources
Agency 25. Department of Energy
Chapter 170. Geothermal Energy Regulations

4VAC25-170-40. Notification of intent to proceed.

The notification of intent to proceed with geothermal production or injection as required by 4VAC25-170-30 must be accompanied by (i) an operations plan, (ii) a geothermal fluid analysis, and (iii) a proposal for injection of spent fluids.

1. The operations plan shall become part of the terms and conditions of any permit that is issued, and the provisions of this plan shall be carried out where applicable in the drilling, production, and abandonment phase of the operation. The department may require any changes in the operations plan necessary to promote geothermal and water resource conservation and management, prevent waste, protect potable groundwater drinking supplies, or protect the environment, including a requirement for injection or unitization. The operations plan shall include the following information:

a. An accurate plat or map, on a scale not smaller than 400 feet to the inch, showing the proposed location using the Virginia Coordinate System of 1983 ( § 1-600 of the Code of Virginia), and surface elevation of the production and injection wells as determined by survey, the courses and distances of such locations from two permanent points or landmarks on said tract, the well numbers, the name of the owner, the boundaries and acreage of the tract on which the wells are to be drilled, the location of water wells, surface bodies of water, actual or proposed access roads, other production and injection wells on adjoining tracts, the names of the owners of all adjoining tracts and of any other tract within 500 feet of the proposed location, and any building, highway, railroad, stream, oil or gas well, mine openings or workings, or quarry within 500 feet of the proposed location. The location must be surveyed and the plat certified by a professional engineer or registered surveyor and bear his certificate number.

b. A summary geologic report of the area, including depth to proposed reservoir; type of reservoir; anticipated thickness of reservoir; anticipated temperature of the geothermal resource; anticipated porosity, permeability and pressure; geologic structures; and description of overlying formations and aquifers.

c. The method of meeting the guidelines of the Erosion and Sediment Control Regulations as adopted by the State Water Control Board pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:52 of the Code of Virginia.

d. The method of disposing of all drilling muds and fluids, and all cement and other drilling materials from the well site; the proposed method of preventing such muds, fluids, drillings, or materials from seeping into springs, water wells, and surface waters during drilling operations.

e. The method of construction and maintenance of access roads, materials to be used, method to maintain the natural drainage area, and method of directing surface water runoff from disturbed areas around undisturbed areas.

f. The method of removing any rubbish or debris during the drilling, production, and abandonment phases of the project. All waste shall be handled in a manner that prevents fire hazards or the pollution of surface streams and groundwater.

g. The primary and alternative method of spent geothermal fluid disposal. All disposal methods shall be in accordance with state and federal laws for the protection of land and water resources.

h. The methods of monitoring fluid quality, fluid temperature, and volumetric rate of production and injection wells.

i. The method of monitoring potable drinking water aquifers close to production and injection zones.

j. The method of monitoring for land subsidence.

k. The method of plugging and abandoning wells and a plan for reclaiming production and injection well sites.

l. The method of cleaning scale and corrosion in geothermal casing.

m. A description of measures that will be used to minimize any adverse environmental impact of the proposed activities on the area's natural resources, aquatic life, or wildlife.

2. Geothermal fluid analysis.

a. A geothermal fluid analysis shall be submitted with the operations plan, and annually thereafter.

b. Acceptable chemical parameters and sampling methods are set forth in 4VAC25-170-70 B.

3. Proposal for injection of geothermal fluids.

a. Geothermal fluid shall be injected into the same geothermal area from which it was withdrawn in the Atlantic Coastal Plain. Plans for injection wells in this area shall include information on:

(1) Existing reservoir conditions.

(2) Method of injection.

(3) Source of injection fluid.

(4) Estimate of expected daily volume in gallons per minute per day.

(5) Geologic zones or formations affected.

(6) Chemical analyses of fluid to be injected.

(7) Treatment of spent geothermal fluids prior to injection.

b. Exemptions to the injection rule for geothermal fluid shall be approved by the department. Such requests shall be accompanied by a detailed statement of the proposed alternative method of geothermal fluid disposal; the effects of not injecting on such reservoir characteristics as pressure, temperature, and subsidence; and a copy of the operator's or designated agent's no-discharge permit.

Statutory Authority

§ 45.2-103 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR480-04-13 § 4, eff. May 1, 1984; amended, Virginia Register Volume 29, Issue 2, eff. October 24, 2012; Volume 33, Issue 21, eff. July 27, 2017; Volume 38, Issue 13, eff. March 31, 2022.

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