State of #California regulators have directed the operators of 12 underground injection wells in #Kern County to halt injection in order to protect high-quality groundwater. In 10 cases, the operators voluntarily relinquished their permits to inject; two cease-and-desist orders have been issued. This move is part of a systematic statewide review of injection related to the oil and gas industry being conducted by the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources and the State #Water Resources Control Board. “As we’ve said before, the protection of California’s groundwater resources – as well as public health — is paramount, particularly in this time of extreme drought,” State Oil and Gas Supervisor Dr. Steven Bohlen said.
In a related action, the California #Environmental Protection Agency #EPA today released the findings of its review of the State’s history of permitting underground injection wells into aquifers that are or could become sources of drinking water. Last year, CalEPA was asked by Governor Brown’s office to conduct a review to better understand how these practices were allowed to occur.
Due to the nature of California’s geology, drilling for oil and gas yields far more water than oil. In 2014, California produced 205.3 million barrels of oil. It also produced more than 3.3 billion barrels of water, which is usually very brackish and unsuitable for human use. That water must be disposed of.Therein lay the problem.