California is shutting down 11 oil and gas wastewater injection sites and reviewing over 100 others in the state’s drought-ravaged Central Valley as officials fear companies have pumped toxic fracking fluids into needed drinking water aquifers.
The California Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources issued cease and desist orders on July 7 to seven energy companies, warning that they may be injecting hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, waste fluids into aquifers, which “poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources,” the state wrote. The orders were confirmed with ProPublica after they were first reported by the Bakersfield Californian.
The demands come at a time of unprecedented drought in the state that has hit California’s top agriculture areas, emptying reservoirs and costing the state $2.2 billion thus far this year. The lack of water has forced the state to use supplemental water supply from underground aquifers, the University of California-Davis reported in a study released last week.