Oilfield disposal site in western Kern set to close | News – Bakersfield, California

Bakersfield, California 2021-06-13 19:00:00 –

A large oilfield wastewater treatment pond near Buttonwillow could be closed this summer, under a recent court settlement that further limits decades-old practices that have been the focus of the region. The operator and the last remaining customer will pay $ 645,000 in fines and fees together with the water quality regulator.

The agreement is with Valley Water Management Co, the owner of the facility. And Colorado-based oil producer Sentinel Peak Resources have signed a 2019 lawsuit for dumping liquids containing harmful chemicals onto reservoirs that supply local drinking and irrigation water.

This case is because the provisions of Proposal 65, the Safe Drinking Water and Toxicity Enforcement Act of 1986, shut down the infiltration and evaporation ponds in Khan County, which accepts oilfield production water, a high salinity by-product of local oil. This is the second case used in. Production containing low concentrations of carcinogenic chemicals.

Valley Water and Sentinel Peak did not respond to requests for comment. However, the settlement agreement points out that Defendant refused to discharge the chemicals listed in Proposal 65 into drinking water or water sources suitable for household or municipal use.

What now?

It was unclear how to dispose of water produced by medium-sized oil producers during the closure of facilities called McKittrick 1 and 1-3 southeast of Lokern Road and Highway 33. The same facility has been used in the last few years and is usually injected deep underground into or near a fluid reservoir.

Representatives of the Plaintiffs Clean Water Fund and the Frustrated Residents’ Association have stated that they hope that the settlement will end the practice, which has been largely phased out nationwide in support of other alternatives.

“Kern County oil companies claim they are under the strictest environmental regulations in the world, but what good are the regulations that require them to file proceedings from citizens?” We asked Tom Franz, the representative of AIR, a grower of tar almonds.

“And where are the state regulators? Nothing happens on this site until we take our staff and members of the state and local water quality management committees to see for themselves what’s going on. I didn’t, “Franz continued. He said Valleywater operates a series of similar disposal ponds a mile west on the other side of Highway 33. “I hope they are closed too.”

Stable flow

The court’s settlement states that in addition to what Valley Water admitted to be an aquifer in the area, the defendant discharged an average of approximately 2.5 million gallons of water per day. It is said that the wastewater contained arsenic, benzene, ethylbenzene, naphthalene, radionuclides, and toluene.

The facility has been in operation since 1969, but its current storage, pipeline and treatment pond configurations were not equipped until 1980.

The Clean Water Fund and AIR have spread more than two miles since the practice created an underground plume and installed a surveillance well in the area in 2004, with pollution potentially reaching Buttonwillow’s drinking water supply. Insisted.

In early 2019, local water regulators used sprinklers to water Valley Water for more than 50 years, 24 hours a day, on the eastern hillside of Brickenridge Road. Ordered to close separate infiltration and evaporation facilities to dispose of. Bakersfield.

Despite the petition of small oil producers, the closure will drive them out of business, but the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Management Commission said the underground plume someday reached the Kern River and eventually Bakersfield’s beverages. Forced closure for fear of reaching water.

Still working

The Water Board was not a party to the recent settlement. Deputy Executive Officer Clay Rogers said the agreement would allow defendants to require an additional year before completing surgery, but would not, and the facility would be closed by September 1. He said he was thinking.

Rogers added that the board is continuing a time-consuming process of considering other Central Valley evaporative and infiltration ponds and anticipates relevant regulatory measures in the future. He emphasized that authorities do not necessarily oppose such disposal methods, but that they need to be properly placed to avoid pollution of available water sources.

The court settlement includes a civil penalty of $ 139,000 and an “additional settlement” of $ 25,000. The total payment makes sense and other pond operators should pay attention.

“As other similarly positioned operators within the regulated community become aware of this action, it will help motivate companies to achieve compliance rather than face similar civil enforcement efforts. I have a reason to believe it. “

Oilfield disposal site in western Kern set to close | News Source link Oilfield disposal site in western Kern set to close | News

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