(A) The chief may identify and shall protect, as an underground source of drinking water, all aquifers or parts of aquifers that meet the definition of an "underground source of drinking water." Even if an aquifer has not been specifically identified by the chief, it is an underground source of drinking water if it meets the definition.
(B) After notice and opportunity for a public hearing, the chief may identify and describe, in geographic and/or geometric terms that are clear and definite, all aquifers or parts thereof that the chief proposes to designate as exempted aquifers if they meet the following criteria:
(1) The aquifer does not currently serve as a source of drinking water;
(2) The aquifer cannot now and will not in the future serve as a source of drinking water because:
(a) It is mineral, hydrocarbon, or geothermal energy producing or can be demonstrated by a permit applicant as part of a permit application for a solution mining project to contain minerals or hydrocarbons that, considering their quantity and location, are expected to be commercially producible;
(b) It is situated at a depth or location that makes recovery of water for drinking water purposes economically or technologically impractical;
(c) It is so contaminated that it would be economically or technologically impractical to render the water fit for human consumption; or
(d) It is located over a solution mining area subject to subsidence or catastrophic collapse; and
(3) The total dissolved solids content of the ground water is more than three thousand mg/L and less than ten thousand mg/L, and it is not reasonably expected to supply a public water system.
(C) The chief shall require an applicant for a permit that necessitates an aquifer exemption under paragraph (B)(2)(a) of this rule to furnish the data necessary to demonstrate that the aquifer is expected to be mineral, hydrocarbon, or geothermal energy producing. Information contained in the mining plan for the proposed project such as a map and general description of the mining zone, general information on the mineralogy and geochemistry of the mining zone, and analysis of the amenability of the planned development of the mining zone shall be considered by the chief in addition to the information required in the solution mining project permit application.