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Publication Abstract

Evaluation of Underground Injection of Industrial Waste to Illinois. Brower, Ross D., Adrian P. Visocky, Ivan G. Krapac, Bruce R. Hensel, Gary R. Peyton, John S. Nealon, Mark Guthrie., 1989  Illinois State Water Survey, Champaign, IL,  ISWS ISSJR-2    Full Text Available

State legislation (Environmental Protection Act, January 1, 1985, Title I: General Provisions, Section 62: Study of Underground Injection) enacted in 1984 required that the Department of Energy and Natural Resources conduct an in-depth assessment of the regulations and regulatory practices of the Illinois Underground Injection Control (UIC) program as it relates to injection of hazardous industrial wastes in Class I waste disposal wells. Class I wells are wells into which hazardous and nonhazardous industrial and municipal wastes are injected below all Underground Sources of Drinking Water (USDW).

The objectives of this assessment were (1) to determine whether underground injection of hazardous wastes is an appropriate method of waste disposal in Illinois and (2) to provide recommendations to the Legislature, Legislative Council, the Governor's Office, and State agencies concerning this disposal practice. Because the injection of nonhazardous wastes in Class I wells is governed by the same basic regulations as hazardous waste injection, nonhazardous Class I wells have been included in the study.

In this assessment, investigative attention was focused on the geological, technical, and environmental feasibility of deep well injection, the adequacy of current regulations and regulatory practices, the ultimate fate of the injected waste in the disposal system, and the comparative risks, benefits, and costs of deep well injection and alternative disposal options. The assessment also identified the need for (1) a broader spectrum of data from the deep well injection system and the disposal operations, (2) additional research on deep well injection, and (3) strengthening of UIC regulations and regulatory practices to increase the safety of the deep well disposal option.

The process of drawing conclusions was a complex activity. Well-established, tested principles of geology and hydraulics of fluid flow in earth materials provided the basis for evaluating available evidence and making reasonable assumptions about the processes affecting injection into a disposal system. The lack of data collection at all significant positions in a disposal system required extrapolation of data from known points and establishment of reasonable inferences to evaluate the fate of injected wastes. Thus, these conclusions must be used with the clear understanding that certain aspects of the input were based on reasonable assumptions, not on directly collected data.



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