Permit Changes: Do You Need a Modification or an Amendment?

At first glance, it might seem rather obvious when you need a permit modification in lieu of a permit amendment.  But when you dig a little deeper, it sometimes becomes less clear.  How do you know whether you should apply for a modification rather than an amendment, and why does it matter?  Read on to learn general guidelines for permit modifications and amendments.  

What qualifies as a modification?

When you’re working with injection well permits, there are two general categories of modifications, those that are administrative in nature and those that have a technical component to the modification.  If you are working in Texas, Title 30, Texas Administrative Code (TAC) Subsection 305.69(k) provides a good summary of changes that are considered modifications.

Some examples of a modification might be:  equipment replacement or upgrades with functionally equivalent components; changes to remove permit conditions that are no longer applicable; changes to analytical quality assurance/control plan; or, changes in name, address, or phone number of persons identified in the approved permit.  A general rule is that if the needed revision is administrative in nature, the revision can usually be integrated with a permit modification.

What qualifies as an amendment?

The short answer is anything that seeks to revise a core component of the actual permit or the technical information provided in support of the permit.  Amendments are typically necessary when revisions are needed to permitting operating limitations or revisions to construction which associated with language included in the permit.  

Some examples of an amendment might be:  an increase in injection pressure or injection rate; changes to well construction which changes the injection interval which receives active fluid disposal; changes to analytical waste analysis plans; or, additions of new or other waste streams not specifically listed in the existing permit.  Permit amendment are usually required if there is a need to make changes with are technical in nature.

Why is this important?

Why is it important to know which path to follow the review my permit?  The short answer is money.  When an applicant specifically needs a permit amendment, typically there is a permit amendment fee that must be paid, costs are incurred associated with preparing technical support of the permit amendment, a public notification process (typically via mail and newspaper publication) is mandated, and longer waiting periods occur while the amendment is reviewed and approved.  If the revision can be handled as a modification, the applicant can usually avoid public notice requirements, shorten the time between the modification request submittal and final approval and application fees are usually less.

When you need guidance through the permit modification and amendment process contact us our Round Rock, TX office.  Terra Dynamics, Inc. can help.  We’re experienced with injection wells, the oil and gas industry and groundwater evaluations.  Call us today to learn more.