Designing and Drilling Your Well
This page provides information to consider BEFORE submitting an application for a Permit to Drill, Deepen, Plug Back or Convert a Well Subject to the Oil, Gas and Solution Mining Law. To assure adequate protection of the environment and public safety, and that the policy objectives of the law are fulfilled, the site-specific aspects of any proposed activity must be evaluated. Department staff conduct this evaluation based on all of the contents of an application package, including the Environmental Assessment Form (EAF).
Site-specific permit conditions are attached to each permit to mitigate potential impacts related to the natural features present at the site, the type of activity, and the procedures the permittee elects to follow. For example, a permit condition imposing erosion control measures might be required for an access road or well site with steep slopes and highly erodible soils which drain to a river and/or other particularly sensitive natural resources. Additionally, Construction Stormwater General Permit Coverage is required for certain Article 23 Activities. Generally, this means that well activities requiring Article 23 well permits which disturb one or more acres of land must also obtain coverage under DEC's General Permit for Stormwater Discharges associated with Construction Activity. Conditions addressing noise impacts might be appropriate where drilling is proposed in highly populated or urban areas. Permit conditions restricting the location of the temporary on-site lined pit may be needed for a site adjacent to a wetland, but may not be necessary if the operator intends to discharge all waste fluids to a tank.
Of paramount consideration when designing the well construction (i.e., casing and cementing) program are the Division's Casing and Cementing Practices, available below. For most wells, these practices have been found to be sufficiently protective of ground water and to adequately prevent migration of fluids from one stratum to another. Special, more restrictive conditions are required for wells to be drilled through primary and principal aquifers, which will likely be similar to the sample Fresh Water Aquifer Supplementary Permit Conditions provided below. Wells drilled where the subsurface conditions are relatively unknown, or where high pressures are expected, will be subject to conditions similar to the sample Wildcat Supplementary Permit Conditions.
Once drilling has commenced, certain notifications and reports are required. Review the Notification and Reporting Requirements as soon as you receive your permit so that your staff and contractors are prepared to comply.
Finally, if the well is an oil and gas well subject to the well spacing requirements of ECL Article 23, Title 5, Well Spacing and Integration Conditions will be attached. It is important to review these conditions before commencing well work as they govern operations which may be conducted as a result of establishment of the spacing unit for the well.
More about Designing and Drilling Your Well:
- Casing and Cementing Practices - Minimum construction standards for all wells, unless a waiver has been approved by the regional minerals manager in response to a written request and justification.
- Fresh Water Aquifer Supplementary Permit Conditions - An example of the more restrictive permit conditions that will govern drilling in principal and primary aquifer areas.
- Wildcat Supplementary Permit Conditions - An example of the permit conditions required to assure well control in unfamiliar or high pressure areas.
- Notification and Reporting Requirements - Procedures for keeping the Division of Mineral Resources informed of drilling status and progress.
- Well Spacing and Integration Conditions - Requirements related to compliance with Titles 5 and 9 of Article 23 of the Environmental Conservation Law.