Injection_Well_diagram.jpgOil operators are now drilling larger, deeper wells, requiring larger volumes of water required for enhanced oil recovery methods.

Throughout the state, the water required for enhanced oil recovery methods, such as steam injection, hydraulic fracturing and acidizing, produces an annual waste stream of over 130 billion gallons.  


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California’s Fracking Wastewater Full Of Toxic Chemicals

A March 2015 study from the Environmental Working Group, Toxic Stew: What’s in Fracking Wastewater?, was released the same day state lawmakers were scheduled to hold a hearing to examine the threats to groundwater from oil and gas drilling waste.

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Answers to Water Questions

Chevron-Poisons.jpgSome deep water questions with answers and analysis by attorney and Measure Z spokeman James Eggleston. 

Is there a timetable by which current extraction operations in the San Ardo field would have to treat untreated water?

Measure Z requires that toxic wastewater injection be phased out over a five year period, or by 2022. The oil industry can continue current methods of production (e.g., steam flooding, water flooding and cyclic steaming) in 2022 and thereafter as long as all of the toxic wastewater is treated and cleaned for beneficial use and not disposed of by reinjection.

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Groundwater "Windfall" at Risk - Stanford Study Says

"Stanford scientists find ‘water windfall’ beneath California’s Central Valley"

New research points out the need to identify and protect the California's hidden groundwater. In Kern County one in every three cases of oil and gas activities was occurring directly into freshwater aquifers - useable water – water that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency deems drinkable if treated. It is in our best interest to preserve this Monterey County resource from the risks of possible contamination from fracking and other oil and gas activities. 

“What we are saying is that no one is monitoring deep aquifers. No one’s following them through time to see how and if the water quality is changing,” Kang said. “We might need to use this water in a decade, so it’s definitely worth protecting.”


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Frack Wastewater Kills Trees

treesdead_0.jpgMost fracking wastewater in the United States is injected deep underground, and an increasing amount is recycled for subsequent drilling or sent to advanced water treatment facilities. However, a handful of states still allow the wastewater to be used for watering cattle, sprayed onto roads for dust control or sent to municipal water-treatment plants not equipped to handle the chemicals involved.

Abstract and study here: Annual Review of Environment and Resources

All bad ideas, according to the authors of this survey, who work at Stanford, Duke University, MIT, Ohio State University, Newcastle University, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. One study they cite found that the agricultural use of fracking wastewater killed more than half of nearby trees within two years.


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Aquifer Contamination

Below is a quote from a 2015 Monterey Herald article on last year's proposed fracking moratorium:

“Let me be clear, so that it’s not a misunderstanding: we believe that any injection into the aquifers that are non-exempt has contaminated those aquifers,”
 said Jonathan Bishop, chief deputy director of the State Water Board, during testimony to the state Legislature. 


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Monterey County Spills

PMC research uncovered numerous spills of wastewater and other toxins from oil operations located near the Salinas River.

whats_in_the_water.jpgThe Monterey County Health Dept. receives hazardous materials spill reports on a regular basis for the San Ardo oil fields. The industry self-reports, and the oil operators are allowed to check off and approve their own clean up efforts. When Monterey County Health Dept. staff were directly asked, "What circumstances would trigger an in-person follow up by the County?" they admitted they do not have a process, nor the resources to determine if the reported contamination requires further remediation, or poses a public health risk. The operator simply states, "CLEAN UP BY CONTRACTOR." 

Below are a list of self-reported spills:

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The Center for Biological Diversity report:

California Officials Propose Allowing Oil Companies to  Dump Waste Fluid Into Dozens of Underground Water Supplies

June 8, 2016
California oil officials today revealed a plan to turn dozens of underground sources of drinking water across the state over to the oil industry for disposal of contaminated waste fluid. The proposal includes aquifers in Monterey, Ventura, Kern and other counties.  

Here is a map of injection well sites near the Salinas River in Monterey County:




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Wastewater in our Aquifer

Scientific American published an article in 2012 asking, 

Are Fracking Wastewater Wells Poisoning the Ground beneath Our Feet?

Spoiler alert, the answer is YES! Records from across the country have repeatedly shown that wells drilled to bury this waste deep beneath the ground have leaked. 

Key experts admit that that the idea that injection is safe rests on science that is not keeping up with reality, and that oversight doesn't always work.


"In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted," said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA's underground injection program in Washington. "A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die."

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Fracked Water for Groundwater Recharging?

Water Injection Fracking

4-6 MILLION GALLONS of water are used every time a well is fracked.
10 to 15 barrels of water are said to be “produced” for every barrel of oil.

What to do with all that fracked water? The wastewater contains the toxic and hazardous chemicals used in fracking fluid and also has contaminants sucked up from deep within the earth, most notably heavy metals, volatile organic compounds, salty brine and radioactive materials.

The FINAL REPORT-BENEFICIAL REUSE OF SAN ARDO PRODUCED WATER was jointly funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, National Energy Technology Laboratory; Aera Energy LLC, one of CA largest oil & gas producers; and Kennedy/Jenks Consultants, who provide engineering and scientific solutions for water, environmental, energy projects to government agencies and private utilities, with large remediation projects in their portfolio.

Here’s how they describe what's happening in South County:

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