Fracking Wastewater Dumped into Protected California Aquifers

According to the Center for Biological Diversity, toxic wastewater from oil industry fracking operations has been illegally injected into Central Valley disposal sites, posing a threat to water supplies of nearby residents.
October 9, 2014, 1pm PDT | Irvin Dawid
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In late July we noted that 11 fracking wastewater injection sites had been shut down "out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers." The aquifers by the injection sites had initially been "deemed useless for drinking and farming and exempted from environmental protection." Well, the results are in, and they are not good.

Mike G. of Desmogblog.com writes that "the California State Water Resources Board has sent a letter to the EPA confirming that at least nine of those sites were in fact dumping wastewater contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants into aquifers protected by state law and the federal Safe Drinking Water Act."

The letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity, reveals that nearly 3 billion gallons of wastewater were illegally injected into central California aquifers and that half of the water samples collected at the 8 water supply wells tested near the injection sites have high levels of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, a known carcinogen that can also weaken the human immune system, and thallium, a toxin used in rat poison.

“The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to wastewater injection sites raises major concerns about the health and safety of nearby residents,” said Timothy Krantz, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Redlands.

“Much more testing is needed to gauge the full extent of water pollution and the threat to public health,” said Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, in her organization's press release.

A Yale University study of natural gas fracking wells in southwestern Pennsylvania posted here last month determined that "Residents Living Near Fracking Suffer Negative Health Impacts."

However, a report done for the Bureau of Land Management posted here in September concluded that "Fracking Doesn't Pose Danger to California Groundwater."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, October 7, 2014 in DeSmogBlog.com
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