2017 ORS 522.019¹
Injection of geothermal fluids
  • rules
  • water quality permit

(1)(a) In order to accomplish the policy of ORS 522.015 (Policy) all geothermal fluids derived from geothermal resources shall be reinjected into the same reservoir from which withdrawn unless it is determined by the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries that these policies and the public interest require other disposal of the fluids.

(b) Subject to the determination in paragraph (a) of this subsection, injection into other reservoirs or disposal by other means may be allowed by the department in specific instances where it is shown that such action is consistent with the policies cited in this section. Disposal by other means may include any secondary use of geothermal fluid after the primary use of such fluid for electrical power generation or for other direct application of the heat or other associated energy contained in such fluids or for by-product extraction. Secondary uses may include, but shall not be limited to, use of condensate resulting from electrical power plant operations for plant-cooling purposes, or use of such geothermal fluid for agricultural, commercial or industrial purposes.

(2) The State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries shall adopt rules governing the disposal by reinjection or other means of geothermal fluids derived from geothermal resources from wells of 250 or more degrees Fahrenheit bottom hole temperature or wells 2,000 or more feet deep. The rules shall include standards whereby contamination may be determined, construction standards for reinjection wells, testing procedures for identifying aquifers, standards and procedures for determining whether adjacent aquifers are being degraded by the reinjection process, guidelines for conservation of the resource, criteria for evaluating reservoirs or zones for geothermal fluid disposal and requirements for prior approval of all geothermal fluid reinjection proposals.

(3) In addition to the permit required by ORS 522.115 (Permit), an operator of a geothermal well must obtain a water quality permit from the Department of Environmental Quality under ORS 468B.050 (Water quality permit) or under rules authorized by ORS 468B.195 (Underground injection control program of federal Safe Drinking Water Act) before injection of any fluid, except well drilling fluids. Nothing in this chapter limits the authority of the Department of Environmental Quality to regulate the subsurface injection of fluids pursuant to ORS 468B.195 (Underground injection control program of federal Safe Drinking Water Act), 468B.196 (Fees) and 468B.197 (Subsurface Injection Fluids Account). [1979 c.163 §4; 1979 c.547 §1; 2009 c.794 §3]

Chapter 522

Atty. Gen. Opinions

Power of Depart­ment of Environ­mental Quality to regulate recovery of geothermal resources, (1972) Vol 35, p 1100; require­ments for exploring for or produc­tion of geothermal or oil or gas resources, (1974) Vol 37, p 68

1 Legislative Counsel Committee, CHAPTER 522—Geothermal Resources, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ors522.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
2 Legislative Counsel Committee, Annotations to the Oregon Revised Stat­utes, Cumulative Supplement - 2017, Chapter 522, https://­www.­oregonlegislature.­gov/­bills_laws/­ors/­ano522.­html (2017) (last ac­cessed Mar. 30, 2018).
3 OregonLaws.org assembles these lists by analyzing references between Sections. Each listed item refers back to the current Section in its own text. The result reveals relationships in the code that may not have otherwise been apparent.