Disposal Wells

The State Land Board accepts applications for disposal well leases. Apply now

For questions or assistance in obtaining a disposal well lease, please contact Steve Freese at steve.freese@state.co.us or 303-866-3454 ext. 3343.

We charge a disposal fee of either $0.65. $0.25, or $0.05 per barrel depending on the type of fluid being disposed. View a more detailed explanation of the different disposal rates.

Lessees are required to obtain local, state, and federal permits. And they must comply with all state and federal regulations regarding well construction, casing specifications, isolation of ground water aquifers, injection volumes, injection pressure, injection zone water quality, and potential for seismicity.  

The federal Environmental Protection Agency granted authority to state agencies to regulate Class II injection wells: the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) currently has jurisdiction over all Class II injection wells (except those on Native American lands). Additionally, all of our lessees are required to follow our site-specific stewardship stipulations.

injection well

Q&A

Disposal wells (sometimes referred to as salt water injection wells) are used to inject brine water produced with oil and gas into underground formations for the purpose of safely and efficiently disposing of the fluid. This water is reinjected into authorized geologic formations through disposal wells or enhanced oil recovery (EOR) wells. If the produced water is being injected for waste disposal (disposal well), it is injected into a formation where oil and gas is not found. Disposal wells have been used for many years to safely return the salt water associated with oil and gas production underground. The State Land Board Disposal Well Application is intended for these types of disposal wells.

Injection methods can also be used for enhanced oil recovery (EOR). EOR is the implementation of various techniques for increasing or prolonging the amount of crude oil that can be produced from an oil field. When water is injected underground for EOR it is injected into the targeted oil and gas zone to increase production. This type of EOR is referred to as secondary recovery (also known as waterflooding). In this process, salt water brought to the surface with oil and gas is reinjected into the oil producing horizon to drive oil into nearby pumping wells, resulting in greater recovery of oil. Tertiary recovery is an EOR process which is employed after secondary recovery methods become inefficient or uneconomical. Tertiary recovery methods include the injection of gases, enhanced waters and steam in order to maintain and extend oil production. If you are interested in using EOR techniques on State Land Board surface to develop State Land Board minerals, please contact Steve Freese at 303-866-3454 ext. 3343. 

The federal Environmental Protection Agency granted authority to state agencies to regulate Class II injection wells. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) currently has jurisdiction over all Class II injection wells (except those on native American lands). Read more. All of our lessees are required to obtain necessary local, state, and federal permits, and they must comply with local, state, and federal regulations.  Additionally, all of our lessees are required to follow our agency’s site-specific stewardship stipulations.

This information is provided by the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). According to 2016 data collected from the EPA, there are 38,169 total disposal wells in the United States and 145,707 enhanced oil recovery wells in the United States. In Colorado, there are 373 disposal wells, and 569 enhanced oil recovery wells. The State Land Board currently has roughly 15 active disposal well leases. View EPA’s 2016 data and 2018 data

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