Friday, March 06, 2015

California shuts 12 oil-industry disposal wells for fear they could pollute drinking water

"California oil drilling regulators on Tuesday ordered operators of 12 underground injection wells in Kern County to halt injections out of fear that they could contaminate drinking water supplies,"  Rory Carroll reports for Reuters. "The action is part of a statewide review of California's 50,000 underground injection wells, which oil companies use to dispose of billions of barrels of undrinkable water produced every year during oil production."

The state began its review "last summer after it was discovered that some injection was taking place into zones not approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the terms of the Safe Drinking Water Act," Carroll writes.

The operators of the wells will have to sample groundwater at the injection point for testing. "Environmentalists said Tuesday's order did not go far enough, noting that a report by the California EPA said the state Water Board has identified more than 200 injection wells of highest concern for potential risk to water supplies," Carroll reports.

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