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25 Pa. Code § 78a.88. Mechanical integrity of operating wells.


§ 78a.88. Mechanical integrity of operating wells.

 (a)  Except for wells that have been granted inactive status, the operator shall inspect each operating well at least quarterly to ensure it is in compliance with the well construction and operating requirements of this chapter and the act. The results of the inspections shall be recorded and retained by the operator for at least 5 years and be available for review by the Department and the coal owner or operator.

 (b)  At a minimum, inspections shall determine:

   (1)  The well-head pressure or water level measurement.

   (2)  The open flow on the annulus of the production casing or the annulus pressure if the annulus is shut in.

   (3)  If there is evidence of gas escaping from the well and the amount escaping, using measurement or best estimate of quantity.

   (4)  If there is evidence of progressive corrosion, rusting or other signs of equipment deterioration.

 (c)  For structurally sound wells in compliance with §  78a.73(e) (relating to general provision for well construction and operation), the operator shall follow the reporting schedule outlined in subsection (e).

 (d)  For wells exhibiting progressive corrosion, rusting or other signs of equipment deterioration that compromise the integrity of the well, or the well is not in compliance with §  78a.73(e), the operator shall immediately notify the Department and take corrective actions to repair or replace defective equipment or casing or mitigate the excess pressure on the surface casing seat or coal protective casing seat according to the following hierarchy:

   (1)  The operator shall reduce the shut-in or producing back pressure on the casing seat to achieve compliance with §  78a.73(e).

   (2)  The operator shall retrofit the well by installing production casing to reduce the pressure on the casing seat to achieve compliance with §  78a.73(e). The annular space surrounding the production casing must be open to the atmosphere. The production casing shall be either cemented to the surface or installed on a permanent packer. The operator shall notify the Department at least 7 days prior to initiating the corrective measure.

   (3)  Additional mechanical integrity tests, including, but not limited to, pressure tests, may be required by the Department to demonstrate the integrity of the well.

 (e)  The operator shall submit an annual report to the Department identifying the compliance status of each well with the mechanical integrity requirements of this section. The report shall be submitted on forms prescribed by, and available from, the Department or in a similar manner approved by the Department.

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