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DEPARTMENT OF GEOLOGY AND MINERAL INDUSTRIES

 

DIVISION 15

INFORMATION AND SEISMIC TEST HOLES

632-015-0005

Information and Seismic Test Holes

These rules provide requirements for seismic and information hole operations, including financial security, groundwater protection, and surface reclamation.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 520
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0010

Definitions

The definitions in ORS 520.005 apply to this rule division. In addition, the following definitions apply:

(1) "Board" means the Governing Board of the State Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

(2) "Department” means the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.

(3) "Drilling Records” means an operational summary of any hole.

(4) "Groundwater" means any water, except capillary moisture, beneath the land surface or beneath the bed of any stream, lake, reservoir or other body of surface water within Oregon, whatever may be the geological formation or structure in which such water stands, flows, percolates or otherwise moves.

(5) "Information Hole" means a hole drilled for information purposes in conjunction with oil or gas exploration operations and includes, but is not limited to, stratigraphic test holes, core holes, or other test holes.

(6) "Nonmetallic Plug" means a plugging device made of nonmetallic and noncorrosive material that can be placed in a hole to prevent excess settling at the surface. An example of a nonmetallic plug is a plastic plug which conforms to the diameter of the hole.

(7) “Operator” means any person who is in charge of the development of a lease or the construction, development or operation of a seismic program or information hole operation subject to the division.

(8) “Permittee" means any person who has the right to conduct a seismic program or information hole operation and has received a permit or is an operator.

(9) "Seismic Explorer" means a person who conducts seismic research work by the means of drilling seismic shot holes for the placing or detonating of explosives.

(10) "Seismic Shot Hole (Seismic Hole)" means a hole that will be used for seismic operation purposes only.

(11) "Stratigraphic Test Hole" means an information hole that is less than 500 feet deep drilled for stratigraphic or geologic data or information only and not for production under any foreseeable conditions as determined by the department.

(12) "Sump" means an earthen containment area or a tank or other container, lined with a low permeability liner, located at the drilling site for the storage of drilling fluids or other material as part of a drilling operation.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 520
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0015

Application and Permit to Conduct Seismic and Information Hole Operations

(1) A person may not conduct seismic program or information hole operations until that person has applied for and received a permit from the department. A nonrefundable fee, pursuant to ORS 520.017, must accompany an application. The application must be submitted on a form provided by the department. The applicant must submit one paper copy and one electronic copy of the application and supporting documents.

(2) The application for a permit for seismic program or information hole operations must include:

(a) The approximate number, depth, and location of the seismic or information holes. In the case of seismic shot holes, the size of the explosive charges must be specified. The application must be accompanied by a map showing the location of the shot holes or information holes. This may be a seismic shot point map showing the location of the seismic lines with shot points where the holes will be located;

(b) The name, permanent address, and business phone number of the applicant;

(c) In the case of a seismic program, the name, permanent address, and business phone number of the seismic explorer, if different from the information in subsection (b) of this section;

(d) The name, permanent address, and business phone number of the hole plugging contractor, if different from the applicant and seismic explorer;

(e) A description of hole plugging procedures;

(f) The anticipated starting date of operations, including drilling;

(g) The anticipated completion date of operations, including plugging, and;

(h) Any other related data requested by the department.

(3) A single application for an information hole may include up to 5 information hole locations.

(4) Upon receipt of an application, the department will determine within 21 days if the application is complete. The department will notify the applicant of its determination in writing.

(5) The department will circulate each completed application to appropriate state agencies and the governing body of the county or city in which the seismic or information holes will be located. The agencies and governing body have 45 days from the date the department circulates the application in which to comment.

(6) The applicant is responsible for obtaining any required land use approval from the affected local government prior to beginning operations.

(7) Within 60 days after receipt of a complete application for a permit to conduct a seismic program or to drill an information hole, the department shall issue or deny the permit unless the department determines that a longer period is necessary to respond to comments or new information, or for any other good cause.

(8) The department shall deny a permit if:

(a) The method of drilling, plugging, or reclamation of the seismic program or information hole operation does not comply with Oregon statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, or any applicable orders of the board; or

(b) The applicant is currently not in compliance with ORS chapter 520 or these rules with respect to a seismic program or information hole in Oregon; or

(c) The applicant currently has contracted, with respect to operations in Oregon, with a geophysical contractor, driller, or other explorer that currently has an unlawfully abandoned seismic program, or information hole pursuant to OAR 632-015-0040, or an oil or gas well pursuant to OAR 632-010-0198 in Oregon or has not submitted plugging records from a previous seismic or information hole operation in the state of Oregon.

(9) If the department denies a permit application, it will notify the applicant upon determination of denial. Any person adversely affected by a decision of the department may appeal pursuant to OAR 632-015-0060.

(10) The department may temporarily suspend any seismic program or information hole operation not in compliance with Oregon statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, any applicable orders of the board, or permit conditions.

(11) The department may revoke a permit if it determines that any of the grounds for denying a permit now exist, as specified in section (8) of this rule, or if any aspect of the operation does not comply with Oregon statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, any applicable order of the board, or permit conditions.

(12) If seismic programs or information hole operations do not commence within one year from the date of issuance of the permit, the permit becomes invalid unless the permit term has been extended pursuant to this section. The permit may be extended by the department for good cause for a maximum of one additional year upon receipt of written request from the permittee, before the expiration date, giving reasons acceptable to the department for an extension.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 520
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0020

Seismic Shot Hole Operations

Seismic shot hole programs may not be conducted within 1/8 mile of any existing building, water well, flowing spring, stock water pipeline, sewer line, utility tunnel, or water or gas line, unless a written exception is granted by the department based on the applicant’s demonstration, to the department’s satisfaction, that the operation presents no significant danger to human health or the environment.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 529
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0025

Financial Security Requirements

(1) Before a permit may be issued for seismic programs or information hole operations, the applicant must submit a surety bond or other form of financial security acceptable to the department. The department will establish the amount of financial security based on estimated costs, but the amount may not be less than $50,000. A surety bond must be executed by the applicant, as principal, and by a surety company authorized to do business in the State of Oregon, as surety, and conditioned upon the faithful compliance by the principal with Oregon statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, any applicable order of the board, and permit conditions.

(2) Any security submitted as required by this section may, with the consent of the department, be terminated and cancelled and the surety relieved of all obligations thereunder. However, the department shall not consent to termination and cancellation of any security until the hole or holes covered by such security have been properly reclaimed, or another valid security has been submitted.

(3) Following completion of operations, the permittee may request that the department release the bond or other form of security. A bond or security may not be released until the department has determined that the permittee has complied with Oregon statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, any applicable order of the board, and permit conditions.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0030

Compliance with Law

The permittee for a seismic program or information hole operation is responsible for conducting all operations in compliance with Oregon statutes, Oregon Administrative Rules, any applicable order of the board or department, and permit conditions, and is subject to the penalties provided by Oregon statutes and these rules for failure to comply.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0035

Notices

The permittee must give the department a minimum of 24 hours advance notice of plugging operations. For seismic shot hole plugging operations that are not a continuation of the initial drilling of the shot hole or part of the plugging procedures immediately following seismic program operations, the permittee must give the department a minimum of 24 hours advance notice of the plugging operations.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0040

Plugging Requirements

(1) Proper completion and decommission require adequate protection of the environment and of aesthetic qualities of the surface in the area of operation.

(2) An information hole or seismic shot hole is properly completed for the purposes of this chapter when the permittee demonstrates to the satisfaction of the department that the information hole or shot hole has been constructed to the standard and requirement of the permit.

(3) An information hole or seismic shot hole is considered properly plugged and abandoned, for the purposes of this chapter, when the conditions of ORS 520.005 to 520.991 and these rules are fulfilled and the permittee has shown to the satisfaction of the department that all proper steps have been taken to protect groundwater and surface water from contamination resulting from the drilling or drilling related activities and to prevent the commingling of fluids between zones or the conveyance of fluids to the surface.

(4) All holes must be plugged and all related disturbance must be reclaimed in accordance with these rules as soon as practical. A hole may not be left unplugged for longer than 30 days from the completion of operations without prior written approval from the department.

(5) An Information hole must be cemented from the bottom up to a depth 4 feet from the ground surface through tubing to prevent cross-flow, erosion, waste, or contamination of groundwater.

(a) The hole must be filled and pressure grouted from bottom to top with cement, consisting of a neat cement weighing in excess of 15.0 pounds per gallon with not less than a viscosity of 36 (API Full Funnel Method);

(b) In no case may sand or aggregate be added to cement grout seal mixtures;

(c) Other fluids may be used upon approval of the department;

(d) Cement grout used as a sealing material must be placed or forced upward from the bottom of the hole in one continuous operation without significant interruption. If temporary outer surface casing is used in the construction of the hole, it must be withdrawn as the grout is placed;

(e) The top of all casing strings must be cut off at least 4 feet below ground surface and buried to a depth of at least four feet in such a manner as not to interfere with soil cultivation.

(6) All seismic shot holes must be plugged and reclaimed in a manner that prevents vertical movement of water in the hole.

(a) Seismic shot holes encountering groundwater must be cased and sealed with unhydrated bentonite at least 3/8 inch in diameter to 10 feet above the groundwater before explosives are used. Unhydrated bentonite materials used in plugging of a hole must be specifically designed for sealing wells and be within industry tolerances for dry western sodium bentonite. The bentonite must be placed in the hole in a manner that prevents cross-flow, waste or contamination of groundwater.

(b) The following requirements apply to seismic shot holes not encountering groundwater:

(A) Such shot hole must be sealed with unhydrated bentonite at least 3/8 inch in diameter below the elevation that the explosives are used;

(B) Above the elevation that the explosives are used unhydrated bentonite at least 3/8 inch in diameter must be added from the top of the bentonite to the surface;

(C) A nonmetallic plug must be set at a depth of 3 feet below ground surface; cuttings added above the nonmetallic plug must be tamped;

(D) The operator must place a bentonite plug no less than 10 feet in length. If the shot hole is less than 10 feet in length, the entire hole must be plugged with unhydrated bentonite at least 3/8 inch in diameter.

(E) A small mound of cuttings must be left over the hole to allow for settling; and

(F) Any cuttings deposited on the surface around the seismic hole or information hole must be raked or otherwise spread so that the cuttings do not exceed 2 inches of the pre-existing land surface, except for a small mound left for settling.

(c) A seismic shot hole that encounters groundwater and caves in after detonation of an explosive charge must provide for the protection of groundwater by reopening the hole and plugging with cement and by placing a mound over the hole for settling as provided in subsections (3)(C) and (3)(D) of this rule.

(d) Alternative plugging procedures and materials may be utilized with the department’s written approval when the operator has demonstrated to the department's satisfaction that the alternatives will protect water quality.

(7) All ground disturbance related to well site operation must be reclaimed to a secondary beneficial use that is compatible with the applicable local land comprehensive plan and land use regulations.

(8) Affidavit on completion: Within 60 days after an information hole or seismic shot hole is plugged, the operator must file a written statement with the department certifying that the well was properly plugged and affected areas reclaimed.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. e.f 3-21-13

632-015-0045

Conversion to Water Well

Permittee may convert the shot or information hole to a water well upon approval from the Oregon Department of Water Resources. The department may not release the permittee from complying with the requirements of ORS 520.005 to 520.991 until such conversion is accomplished.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0050

Filing of Reports

(1) Report on Completion. Within 45 days after the completion of the plugging of an information hole or seismic shot hole, the owner or operator must file a report with the department setting forth in detail the method used in plugging the well or wells. The report must be in a form acceptable to the department.

(2) The drilling records:

(a) Must be in narrative form and include a map showing the location and depth of each shot hole or information hole so that it can be located; and

(b) Must indicate all work that has been performed in compliance with the permit issued for the seismic program or information hole operation.

(3) Within 60 days after plugging, the permittee must file an affidavit with the department, setting forth the location of the information hole or seismic program and the method used to protect such water-bearing formation, if any, that was penetrated during the program or operation.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: 520.027, 520.095 & 520.097
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0055

Reclamation

(1) Reclamation of surface lands affected by these operations is intended to return the surface to pre-exploration condition and/or beneficial use that is compatible with the local land use designation for the parcel(s).

(2) The operator must provide sumps of adequate capacity and design to retain all fluid material during drilling and other operations.

(3) The operator may not allow the contents of a sump to:

(a) Enter streams, artificial canals, waterways, groundwater, lakes, rivers, or other water bodies; or

(b) Adversely affect public health, safety, or welfare, or the environment, including plants, fish, and wildlife.

(4) When no longer needed, fluid in sumps must be disposed of in a manner approved by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality and the sumps must be filled and covered.

(5) The affected surface lands must be restored to a pre-exploration status or another beneficial use that is authorized under the applicable comprehensive plan and land use regulations and acceptable to the department and surface owner. Reclamation activities may include, but are not limited to, grading, replanting, and reseeding of affected lands.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

632-015-0060

Appeals

The applicant or permittee may request a contested case hearing by the board. The request for a contested case hearing must be filed within 30 days. The contested case hearing will be conducted in accordance with OAR 632-001-0005 and ORS Chapter 183.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 516.090 & 520.095
Stats. Implemented: ORS 520.027 & 520.095
Hist.: GMI 2-1990, f. 8-9-90, cert. ef. 8-31-90; GMI 2-1995, f. & cert. ef. 3-10-95; DGMI 2-2013, f. & cert. ef. 3-21-13

The official copy of an Oregon Administrative Rule is contained in the Administrative Order filed at the Archives Division, 800 Summer St. NE, Salem, Oregon 97310. Any discrepancies with the published version are satisfied in favor of the Administrative Order. The Oregon Administrative Rules and the Oregon Bulletin are copyrighted by the Oregon Secretary of State. Terms and Conditions of Use

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