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Geothermal Rules <br />Statement of Basis and Purpose <br />from new wells, and increasing the production from, expanding the use of, or changing <br />the producing reservoir for existing wells. They do not apply to the appropriation and use <br />of geothermal fluids resulting from surface diversions from natural streams or lakes, or <br />naturally flowing springs. Also excluded from these Rules are wells subject to the <br />jurisdiction of the Colorado Mined Land Reclamation Board, the Colorado Oil and Gas <br />Conservation Commission, and water wells subject to Articles 90 and 92 of Title 37, <br />C.R.S. (2003), permitted by the Colorado Ground Water Commission or the State <br />Engineer. <br />The loop fields of geoexchange systems utilize the earth's geothermal properties, and are <br />therefore regulated under these Rules. Since they do not appropriate or divert <br />subsurface fluids, they are differentiated in these Rules from geothermal wells that <br />appropriate or divert subsurface fluids. For the purposes of these Rules, the loop fields of <br />geoexchange systems and geothermal wells are both referred to as "geothermal wells" or <br />"wells." Heat pump systems that do not use the earth's geothermal properties are not <br />considered to be geothermal wells and are excluded from these Rules. <br />With the exception of geoexchange systems, the construction of a geothermal well and <br />the diversion of geothermal fluid from a well does not differ from the construction of a <br />water well and the diversion of ground water. Therefore, these Rules are designed to be <br />consistent with the statutes and practices for permitting, constructing and administering <br />water wells. These Rules rely on and do not duplicate existing well construction rules. <br />Since geothermal wells could encounter potentially greater depths or higher temperatures <br />and pressures than ordinary water wells, these Rules have incorporated some of the <br />construction and operating provisions from the rules adopted by the Colorado Oil and <br />Gas Conservation Commission in addition to the Water Well Construction Rules, 2 CCR <br />402-2. <br />These Rules provide minimum construction standards designed to protect the health and <br />safety of the public and prevent contamination of geothermal reservoirs and aquifers <br />through the unpermitted migration of fluids through well bores. These minimum <br />standards do not prevent an owner or operator from using higher standards or better <br />quality materials for the construction and the operation of a geothermal well. <br />The provisions of these Rules allow the State Engineer to obtain records for and monitor <br />the uses of geothermal resources in Colorado. Records of installations of loop fields for <br />geoexchange systems, well construction and knowledge of geothermal uses provide the <br />State Engineer with means to protect valid, prior water or geothermal rights, and to seek <br />enforcement if violations are found or other rights are injured. <br />These Rules do not apply to permitting the discharge of a geothermal fluid. They do <br />advise a geothermal well owner of their responsibility for obtaining any required permit <br />from the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission in the case of discharges to the <br />surface stream systems or the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for underground <br />injection. <br />4 <br />