The purpose of this initiative is to collect the necessary data to determine if water quality is affected by oil and gas exploration and development operations. The rulemaking process for Groundwater Baseline Sampling, Analysis and Monitoring was assigned to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (WOGCC) in early 2013. During this yearlong process, a rule was drafted with input from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and the State Engineer’s Office (SEO). A draft rule was presented to the Wyoming Oil and Gas Commission followed by a public comment period. The final rule, Chapter 3, Section 46 Groundwater Baseline Sampling, Analysis and Monitoring along with Appendix K, Sampling and Analysis Procedures, was adopted in December of 2013 and became effective March 1, 2014. The rule requires an operator to identify all water sources within a half-mile radius of a proposed well and analyze samples from a minimum of four water sources (if available) prior to drilling the well. These water sources include domestic, stock, industrial, irrigation, municipal or other permitted uses of water. The operator is also required to sample and analyze the same water sources during the second and fourth year following the completion of a well. The analysis will look for specific components and their concentration levels in the water samples to determine baseline parameters for those components. Monitoring for the presence of certain components will assist in the evaluation of changes in water quality and if any detected changes may be a result of oil and gas development or exploration activities. The mere presence, or change in concentration, of a particular component does not assume the operator is at fault, but allows for the opportunity to investigate its source. All final results of water sampling and analysis will be submitted to the WOGCC and made available to the public, unless the data is otherwise considered confidential under Wyoming statute.
A public database that documents water quality results before, during and after oil and gas exploration and development operations.
Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming State Engineer’s Office