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California is a state of drought emergency and there are no signs that this will change any time soon. Residents are being urged to save water in any way they possibly can to protect the state’s highly strained water resources. In the midst of this time where conserving water is crucial, however, it has been discovered that at least nine underground water aquifers have been purposely contaminated by fracking waste water.

A recent investigation found that the California government has allowed oil and gas companies to dump nearly three billion gallons of waste from the fracking process into perfectly potable drinking water reserves. You’ve got to be fracking kidding us, right?

Hydraulic fracturing requires an enormous amount of fresh water resources (putting more strain on dwindling supplies) to carry out gas extraction. This fresh water is mixed with thousands of “trade secret” chemicals (many of which are known carcinogens) and injected into the ground to push out pockets of natural gas. When the water is pumped back up to the surface it is further polluted with heavy metals from the earth. This water is so filled with toxins and contaminants that it can never be recovered, so it is usually pumped back down into the extraction site.

Instead of taking this route, gas companies thought it would be better suited to inject the waste down into the fresh water supply. Don’t worry California, you might not have any clean water to drink … but you’ll be supplied with natural gas for the rest of time!

Some fracking waste water ends up being injected into EPA exempt aquifers that sit close to the surface and are not suitable for use for drinking water or irrigation. However in this case, the wells where the waste water was injected were non-exempt by the EPA, meaning they contained high quality water. To make matters worse, one of the fracking wells that injected waste into a non-exempt fracking water is within a one mile radius of at least 40 different water supply wells, including domestic water supplies.

When state officials tested the water in eight wells near one polluted aquifer, half of the wells had levels of arsenic, nitrate and thallium higher than is allowed. This is of serious concern to people who rely on these water resources. While the reasoning behind how these aquifers were allowed to be polluted remains unclear, officials will continue to test local wells.

In a time when water is scarce, fracking operations should not even be permitted. This process is extremely dangerous to the local community and environment and there is no logical reason why natural gas companies should be given priority to water supplies over California residents.

How many more fraccidents need to happen before we learn?

Image source: Maryland Sierra Club/Flickr


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0 comments on “Just When California’s Drought Problems Couldn’t Be Worse, Fracking Pollutes 9 Aquifers”

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3 Years Ago

"In a time when water is scarce, fracking operations should not even be permitted." #TRUTH

pat addison
3 Years Ago

does this mean that this summer more Californians will be sending water trucks into my home state of Oregon to steal water out from our rivers and lakes to take back down to Californians to water their estates?????

Lisa DeSantis
3 Years Ago

Fracking = Poison Progress

Thomas Irons
3 Years Ago

Now California is destroying it\'s water....... Fracking Fluid has caused poisoned ground water flowing through new man made cracks in all directions. Up to the surface, down and sideways. Coming up in springs, creeks, streams and lakes. Gas coming into families\' homes through the faucets from their now poisoned wells. Farms without clean water for their animals. Families needing to truck in water to bath, drink and use. Flowing hazardous chemicals(fracking fluid) poisoning land throughout how many miles of ground and surface water from the Gas Well Site? Millions of acres of NEW TOXIC WASTE LAND in AMERICA approved by corrupt politicians and bribed EPA workers is being created. Lets see them drink the contaminated, poisoned water caused by injecting hazardous chemicals into the ground. Where are all the Going Green People as these millions of acres are being contaminated forever. It cannot be cleaned up. The earth and the water flowing through it in contact with these hazardous chemicals from 1 foot to 20000 feet down will be poisoned forever. The cost of cleaning earth and minerals in this amount would be more than can be imagined. Many of the birds, fish and animals that consume this water, depending on the amount of hazardous chemicals leaked into the pond or stream they drink from, will die quickly or slowly. Right now Openly in America clean land is being poisoned while the Government Regulators, Politicians and citizens watch. The current administration said, regarding the Gulf of Mexico spill, that non-enforcement of drilling rules was a problem for decades. History seems to be repeating itself in the name of greed. All while clean, long existing alternatives for energy are ignored or prevented from being used. WHY IS DESTROYING AQUIFERS and CLEAN LAND and WATER and AIR OK in AMERICA? Are they horizontally drilling under your family\'s home now to take the natural gas and poison your well water/ground water? They can drill from two miles and further away to directly underneath your home to poison your family\'s well water if your states\' politicians have voted to allow it..............PS.-Is the Fracking causing Earthquakes? Pumping billions of barrels of Toxic Fluids UNDER MASSIVE PRESSURE INTO the GROUND. Could it be figured this may be a problem for geology/earthquakes? Also, once the natural gas is sold overseas and almost all the ground water in North Carolina is poisoned, then the residents will be dependent on buying water at any price forever to stay alive. Is selling drinkable water the hidden agenda? If you live for another 30 years, you will see the wasteland NC will become. The toxic soup springing up from under our feet could happen with any step we take. The Aquifers can flow together for hundreds or thousands of miles. It would be too late then. North Carolina is not new to allowing industry to destroy former clean natural resources. The COASTAL FISHING INDUSTRY WAS KILLED after NC permitted 3800 massive open-pit hog waste lagoons contaminating the state\'s drinking water, polluting its air and streams and causing open sores and deformed fish and crabs. The runoff from 19 million tons of hog waste produced annually in Eastern North Carolina from the hog factories has polluted Albemarle Sound, the largest freshwater sound in the country, and adjacent Pamlico Sound, the largest enclosed saltwater sound. Would you eat seafood with open sores and deformations? Also causing Red Tide and Pfiesteria. So, they have polluted the large sounds on the coast for decades and now they want to poison the Aquifers in North Carolina and water in nearby states that share the same ground water? This can be stopped. Please call your representatives. The internet can show you how many vast communities have poisoned water from Fracking. It\'s documented. Now they have no clean water. So again, what price will they be charging citizens for clean water to stay alive?

03 Apr 2015

Thomas...now you have depressed me about North Carolina. I live in NC and I knew about some of this stuff but good grief when will the greed stop and people say enough already. Most people do even pay attention to what is happening in the world and forget about the media reporting about the pollution of clean water.

3 Years Ago

Wow, CA must have some really bad rules on waste water disposal. First, disposal wells are about 5-8K feet below the water table. Second, all waste water is treatable to be reused as frac fluid. It just costs more. And third, the majority of disposed fluid is not frac fluid, it\'s salt water produced with the hydrocarbons. It is injected right back into the same formation it came from. Plus when it comes out, it touches nothing but where it came from and the well casing. I just love it when people who don\'t know what they are talking about write an article.

Stu Neiman
3 Years Ago

I read this article and as an environmental geologist, I couldn\'t find any cause or correlation to fracking and the high concentrations of these particular metals in the non-exempt aquifers. A great deal of the southwest has water quality issues that are naturally occurring and this seems to correlate with that phenomena, not fracking. Sorry, but I\'d raise the BS flag on this one.

John Smith
3 Years Ago

This clearly goes to show that nothing will stop the oil companies from destroying the earth. Nobody cares. The almighty dollar and wall street direct the paths to destruction. This is all part of the plan of the New World Order. This is only the tip of the iceberg.

Daniel Ferra
3 Years Ago

Our Global Warming Polluting Energy Policies, of burning Fossil Fuels, Toxic Coal, Poisoning Fracked Natural Gas, an Deadly Radiated Fuel Rods, are a Nightmare, that our children wake up to everyday, what are you going to do about it ?

We Need Sustainable Energy Policies, with all hands on Deck, removing Home Owners and Business Persons from investing and keeping their own profits goes against our daily childhood pledge of, With Liberty and Justice for All.

A California Residential Feed in Tariff would allow homeowners to sell their Renewable Energy to the utility, protecting our communities from Poison Water, Grid Failures, Natural Disasters, Toxic Natural Gas and Oil Fracking. It would also create a new revenue stream for the Hard Working Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner.

Sign and Share this petition for a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

We need a National Feed in Tariff, this petition starts in California.

California currently has a Feed in Tariff that does not allow home owners to participate in the State mandated goal of 33% renewable energy by 2020.

California also does not allow the homeowner to oversize their R.E systems, as of now, your local utility has allowed only 80% homeowner generation from your R.E system.

California has 2 different Energy policies Net-metering and a Feed in Tariff.

Net metering the energy policy for homeowners, allow you to bank excess electricity from R.E systems for future credits. The credits you accumulate are at the retail rate, and are reviewed at the end of the year. It will be written off with a thank you from the utility and no payment to the homeowner for producing more than what you use.

Net metering has allowed third party leasing companies to replace one utility with another.

"Examples of Net-metering slow down Renewable Energies:

1. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPSs) which create de facto caps on the deployment of renewable energies (the Germans do not have any RPSs, their Feed in Tariff has no caps.
2. Net-metering caps, most states only allow a small percentage of one to two percent of peak load to be net metered.

3. Third party leasing companies like Solar City, Sun Run, Verango and others fight tooth and nail to protect scarce capacity carve outs (from the States RPSs) so as to bolster their chosen business model." Bob Tregilus

No one is fighting for the Hard Working, Taxpaying, Voting, Homeowner, we can change that with a Ca. Residential Feed in Tariff Energy policy that allows everyone to participate. Homeowner’s, Small and Large Businesses, Small and Large farmers, and Industries, have the right to sell Renewable Energy electricity to the utility.

Vote Solar Initiative is a Sierra Club and Solar Leasing Companies platform to ensure that One Utility will take the place of Another through the continued use of Net Metering.

We need a Policy that will enable Hard Working, Voting, Tax Paying Citizens, get a chance to participate in the States goal of 33% Renewable Energy by 2020 through a California Residential Feed in Tariff.

California, there is enough Residential Solar to power 2.25 San Onofres, couple that with a Commercial Feed in Tariff and we can solve some of these environmental and electrical generating problems.

This petition will ask the California Regulators and Law makers to allocate Renewable Portfolio Standards to Ca. Home Owners for a Residential Feed in Tariff, the RPS is the allocation method that is used to set aside a certain percentage of electrical generation for Renewable Energy in the the State.

23 Jan 2015

No common sense or decency.
Companies this stupid should be neutered and those responsible should drink this nasty stuff.

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