Tags: oil | companies | taint | drinkable | water

Oil Companies Taint Drinkable Water in California's Central Valley

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM

Oil companies have been allowed to taint drinkable water supplies in drought-ravaged central California for years as state regulators gave them the OK to dump wastewater into aquifers.

Groundwater has been an increasingly important supply of water for Californians faced with several years of a severe drought. According to a new report in the San Francisco Chronicle, the state has allowed oil companies to drill more than 170 waste-disposal wells into aquifers suitable for drinking or irrigation.

Many of the waste-injection wells have been built in the Central Valley region where so much groundwater has been pumped that the land has started to sink.

"It is an unfolding catastrophe, and it's essential that all oil and gas wastewater injection into underground drinking water stop immediately," Kassie Siegel, director of the Climate Law Institute at the Center for Biological Diversity environmental group, told the Chronicle.

The San Jose Mercury News reported that 2012, 2013, and 2014 made up the driest three-year period in recorded California history dating back to 1850. An unmovable ridge of high-pressure air off the West Coast has acted like a battering ram for Pacific storms, sending the much-needed rain north into Canada, then down along the East Coast with large amounts of snow.

"And it has left California with record hot temperatures — Monterey Bay beaches were full of people in shorts and swimwear through January — and very little rain," the Mercury News reported. "The ridge broke down in December, bringing several soaking storms. But it came right back in January. San Francisco received not a single drop of rain for the entire month of January, the first time in its history."

"San Jose and Sacramento also recorded their driest January ever, dashing hopes after the wet December that the drought may finally be ending," the newspaper continued.

In central California, state officials have found no contamination to drinking water well so far after testing, according to the Chronicle. The Environmental Protection Agency, though, is still considering taking control of waste-injecting wells, something the state has done for the past 30 years.

"If there are wells having a direct impact on drinking water, we need to shut them down now," Jared Blumenfeld, regional administrator for the EPA, told the Chronicle. "Safe drinking water is only going to become more in demand."

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Oil companies have been allowed to taint drinkable water supplies in drought-ravaged central California for years as state regulators gave them the OK to dump wastewater into aquifers.
oil, companies, taint, drinkable, water
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2015-59-03
Tuesday, 03 Feb 2015 12:59 PM
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