Last week, the California State Water Resources Board sent a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirming that roughly 3 billion gallons of hydraulic fracturing wastewater was illegally dumped into central California aquifers.
Last July, the state of California closed 11 wastewater injection wells in fear that the fracking wastewater was contaminating surrounding aquifers. The EPA demanded a report within 60 days of the closures.
According to a recent Desmogblog.com article, a letter from the California State Water Resources Board to the EPA revealed at least nine of the now-closed 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.
Water samples collected from eight different water supply tests wells near injection sites all came back with dangerously high levels of chemicals such as arsenic and thallium, a toxin commonly used in rat poison.
The full range of contamination is still unknown. State regulators believe that 19 other fracking wastewater sites may have contributed to the contamination of California aquifers. The particular aquifers in question are vital to residents of the Central Valley.
Hollin Kretzmann, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, stated that these new revelations are confirmation that state regulators have failed in protecting Californians and the environment from unchecked energy development.
Much more testing is needed to gauge the full extent of water pollution and the threat to public health,” Krezmann says. “But Governor Brown should move quickly to halt fracking to ward off a surge in oil industry wastewater that California simply isn’t prepared to dispose of safely.”
What’s worse, California is still crippled from one of the most vigorous droughts in American history. As of October 7, 2014, the majority of California is experiencing extreme to exceptional drought. The strain of hydraulic fracturing even without the threat of contamination is bad enough considering the colossal amount of freshwater used in the fracking process. Once used for fracking, the wastewater is then permanently removed from the ecosystem’s water cycle.
You can read more about the ongoing contamination investigation from Desmogblog.com: ”Confirmed: California Aquifers Contaminated with Billions of Gallons of Fracking Wastewater“.