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Indybay Feature
Tue Feb 17 2015
Cancer-causing Chemicals Found in Fracking Flowback From California Oil Wells
EPA Urged to Shut Down Oil Industry Wastewater Wells Threatening California Aquifers
Flowback fluid from fracked oil wells in California commonly contains dangerous levels of cancer-causing chemicals, a new analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity has found. Flowback fluid is a key component of oil-industry wastewater from fracked wells, which is commonly disposed of in injection wells, which often feed into aquifers, including some that could be used for drinking water and irrigation. Oil wastewater is also dumped into open pits.

Benzene levels over 1,500 times the federal limits for drinking water were found in fracking flowback fluid tests dating back to April 2014 obtained and analyzed by the Center. Benzene in excess of federal limits was found in 320 tests, and chromium-6 was detected 118 times. Both chemicals can cause cancer. “Cancer-causing chemicals are surfacing in fracking flowback fluid just as we learn that the California oil industry is disposing of wastewater in hundreds of illegal disposal wells and open pits,” said Hollin Kretzmann, the Center lawyer who conducted the analysis. “Gov. Brown needs to shut down all the illegal wells immediately and ban fracking to fight this devastating threat to California’s water supply.”

Hundreds of injection wells were recently revealed to be illegally dumping oil industry wastewater into scores of California aquifers, including some that supply water for drinking and farming irrigation. Recently revealed documents from the EPA and the state’s Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources show that state and federal regulators have investigated at least 532 oil industry injection wells across the state — from Monterey County and sites near San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara to Kern and Los Angeles counties — over concerns they are illegally dumping wastewater into scores of aquifers containing water that should be protected under state and federal laws.

Read More | Center for Biological Diversity | See Also: EPA Urged to Shut Down Oil Industry Wastewater Wells Threatening California Aquifers | Anti-fracking coalition calls for shut down of toxic injection wells | Sierra Club Condemns State Injection Well Practices, Calls for Investigation | Oilfield Surfactants Market to Increase to Over $1 Billion by 2020 due to Fracking

Previous Coverage: 3 Billion Gallons of Oil Industry Wastewater Illegally Dumped into Central Valley Aquifers
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