Get Out of the Pits

Waste pit - Kern County

Oil and gas companies have been dumping their wastewater into unlined open pits, threatening groundwater and air quality. This disposal method is an irresponsible way for industry to save a few dollars, and it has contaminated groundwater in numerous cases.

In our new report, we have documented cases of groundwater contamination, and failed regulatory oversight. Almost 70% of active and idle pits do not have a permit, or were issued permits decades ago and regulators never updated the requirements to comply with water quality laws.

The Central Valley Water Board has begun to more actively regulate pits and has drafted a “general order” which will set the rules for how pits must operate. The problem is that the proposed order still allows for toxic wastewater to be disposed of into unlined pits.

The California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) in its state sanctioned, independent study on fracking, recommended that unlined pits containing harmful chemicals should be prohibited. Take action and demand the State and Regional Water Board listen to the science and prohibit this dangerous disposal method.