Article courtesy of Sara Jerome | December 28, 2014 | Water Online | Shared as educational material
A study by two national environmental organizations shows that fracking wastewater pits are threatening water quality in California.
“Unlined open-air wastewater pits brimming with the toxic leftovers of fracking and other types of oil and gas development are threatening California’s air and water quality,” Inside Climate News reported, citing the study.
The study authors said they began the report after researchers had become sick when they visited wastewater pits in California’s Central Valley, the news report said. Clean Water Action and Earthworks issued the study.
“For decades, oil companies have been discharging [a] massive stream of toxic oilfield wastewater into open-air, unlined pits, also known as sumps,” the study explains.
The report calls out regulators for failing to address the problem.
“The groups’ findings further document the risks of using unlined pits for oil and gas wastewater disposal and challenge whether California’s regulatory system adequately addresses the hazards. The report highlights threats to water, air and health; documents regulatory failures; and proposes immediate remedies,” the news report said.
The report called out regulators who could be doing more within their existing authority.
“For over a decade, Central Valley Water Board staff has known about a plume of wastewater that has migrated from some of the largest pits in Kern County, yet has issued ZERO violations to the operator,” the study said.
According to the pro-fracking industry group Energy from Shale, fracking is safe for the environment.
“Hydraulic fracturing is safe and well-regulated by federal and state agencies. The technologies and processes continue to be improved, guided by industry standards developed from experiences in the field and which undergo rigorous review before adoption,” the group says.