Fracking operators in central California have contaminated nearby aquifers with nearly three billion gallons of illegally-injected wastewater, according to documents obtained by the U.S. Center on Biological Diversity.
“Half of the water samples collected at the eight water supply wells tested near the injection sites have high levels of dangerous chemicals such as arsenic, a known carcinogen that can also weaken the human immune system, and thallium, a toxin used in rat poison,” DeSmog Blog reports.
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“The fact that high concentrations are showing up in multiple water wells close to wastewater injection sites raises major concerns about the health and safety of nearby residents,” said environmental studies professor Timothy Krantz of the University of Redlands. The contamination was revealed in correspondence from the California State Water Resources Board to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Regulators say up to 19 other injection wells may have contaminated local aquifers. So far, the Central Valley Water Board has tested eight out of 100 nearby water wells.
Fracking has also been seen as aggravating California’s continuing mega-drought. “Fracking is a water-intensive process, using as much as 140,000 to 150,000 gallons per frack job every day, permanently removing it from the water cycle,” Gaworecki writes.
“The Central Valley region, which has some of the worst air and water pollution in the state, has borne a disproportionate amount of the impacts from oil companies’ increasing use of the controversial oil extraction technique.”
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