Oil, Gas & Mining

Oil and Gas

The Texas Railroad Commission

The Texas Railroad Commission (RRC) is the lead agency regulating the oil and gas industry. The RRC is committed to stewardship of natural resources and works to protect groundwater resources. The RRC regulates or is responsible for:

  • The disposal of oil and gas wastes by injection, the injection of fluid for enhanced oil recovery, and the underground storage of hydrocarbons;
  • The surface storage and disposal of oil and gas wastes, brine retention facilities associated with brine mining, and underground hydrocarbon storage;
  • Oil-field cleanup which is regulated by Statewide Rules and special orders; and,
  • Groundwater contamination caused by oil and gas.



Texas Commission on Environmental Quality

As of September 1, 2011, TCEQ's Surface Casing Team was transferred to the RRC and is now called the Groundwater Advisory Unit (GAU). The GAU helps ensure that oil and gas do not mix with groundwater by providing technical assistance about surface casing requirements. Surface casing is a pipe that is used in conjunction with cement to protect groundwater and keep the well from caving in and blowing out. Anyone planning to drill for oil and gas or reenter an existing oil and gas well in Texas needs a surface casing letter which outlines where fresh and usable-quality water is located. The RRC uses the recommendations found in the surface casing letter for designing well requirements.

TCEQ's Oil and Gas Facilities: Compliance Resources webpage covers regulations on air, water, waste, and spills related to the oil and gas industry. TCEQ also has a publication, Common Environmental Requirements for Regulated Oil and Gas Operations (TCEQ publication RG-482), which discusses TCEQ regulations for upstream oil and gas sites.

Radiation Control

Radioactive elements can be released in oil and gas activities and in mining operations. The Department of State Health Services Radiation Control Program oversees uranium and radioactive waste disposal. The Radiation Control Program monitors groundwater for radionuclides on a routine basis at several facilities in Texas. TCEQ also oversees disposal of radioactive materials, but not oil and gas naturally occurring radioactive materials. The RRC regulates the disposal of oil and gas naturally occurring radioactive materials.

Groundwater White Papers

Groundwater Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)