Study Concludes Ventura County Water Supplies are Safe

Scientific Water Study Concludes Ventura County Water Supplies are Safe

CFROG, Blue Tomorrow, and other activist groups in Ventura County continue to make false claims that oil and gas production in Ventura County is impacting drinking water supplies and water resources. A new scientific report conducted by a team of hydrogeologists found that Ventura County public drinking water supplies have NOT been impacted by oil and gas production. The study reviewed annual reports from water purveyors throughout Ventura County, this includes large public water-supply systems as well as parks, farms and other small water systems. Not one annual report detected petroleum compounds in public water systems above drinking water standards or identified oil and gas production as a source of drinking water contamination.

Here’s what water purveyors are saying about your drinking water:

  • City of Santa Paula: “In a matter of only a few decades, drinking water has become exponentially safer and more reliable than at any point in human history.” (City of Santa Paula 2017)
  • Ventura Water: “Drinking water met all state and federal standards.” (Ventura Water 2017)
  • Ojai – Golden State Water Co.: “You should rest assured knowing that Golden State Water tests water delivered to its customers to ensure it meets stringent quality standards.” (GSWC 2017)
  • City of Fillmore: “Over the years, we have dedicated ourselves to producing drinking water that meets all state and federal standards.” (City of Fillmore 2016)
  • Casitas MWD: “Your tap water is safe to drink. There have been no contaminants detected in our water supply.” (Casitas MWD 2017)

VENTURA COUNTY GROUNDWATER IS SAFE

Strict regulations and safe industry practices for oil and gas production in Ventura County provide protection for groundwater resources. This includes requirements for isolating oil and gas wells from surrounding and overlying groundwater. The US Geological Survey and the State Water Resources Control Board conducted a comprehensive study on groundwater quality in the eight groundwater basins in Ventura County. The study did not identify oil and gas production as a contamination source. (Montrella and Belitz 2009; Burton et al. 2011a, 2011b.) Primary impacts to groundwater quality in Ventura County are contaminants from natural sediments, urban development, septic systems, wastewater treatment, seawater intrusion, and commercial activities.

Groundwater Quality in Ventura County and Potential Impacts of Oil and Gas Exploration and Production – Executive Summary

Prepared by Thomas Johnson Associates, Substrata LLC, and CW Consulting Consulting firms specializing in water and environmental issues September 16, 2018

A scientific study was conducted to assess potential impacts to drinking water from oil and gas drilling and production activities in Ventura County, and evaluate the validity of claims by environmental activist groups regarding impacts of oil and gas drilling and production in the county. Following are conclusions from this study:

  • Extensive studies of groundwater quality in Ventura County provide information to assess the magnitude and extent of possible impacts of oil and gas production on groundwater quality.
  • Groundwater quality in Ventura County primarily reflects interaction of the water with surrounding soil and rock, and the quality of the water sources that recharge groundwater.
  • Primary impacts to groundwater quality in Ventura County are contaminants from natural sediments, agricultural sources, urban development, septic systems, wastewater treatment, seawater intrusion, and commercial activities.
  • No public drinking water supplies have been impacted by oil and gas production.
  • Surface and groundwater monitoring programs conducted by water districts, Ventura County, water purveyors, the USGS and SWRCB have not identified oil/ gas production as a contamination source.
  • There is no evidence to support claims by CFROG, Blue Tomorrow and other environmental groups that oil and gas production activities have impacted any drinking water supplies or water resources.
  • Oil-producing and water disposal formations in Ventura County oil fields are isolated from public water supplies and regional aquifers.
  • Salts, metals and petroleum naturally occur in geologic formations, sediments, surface water and groundwater in Ventura County.
  • Petroleum impacts on groundwater quality in Ventura County, where evident at all, are localized, generally unrelated to oil and gas exploration and production, and much less frequent and significant than other sources of natural, agricultural and urban water-quality degradation.
  • Scientific studies and monitoring data indicate that current oil field operations do not pose a threat to public water supplies, consistent with industry practices and strict regulations designed to protect groundwater.
  • Area-specific and regional groundwater monitoring programs to be conducted in oil-field areas as required by SB4 are expected to confirm findings from previous studies that water quality is impacted by a variety of natural, agricultural, commercial, industrial, industrial and municipal sources.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Thomas M. Johnson, PG, CHG is Principal Hydrogeologist of Thomas Johnson Associates. He is former President of the California Groundwater Resources Association and provides water and environmental expert consulting services to public and industrial clients.

Eric M. Nichols, PE is Principal of Substrata LLC. He provides strategic consulting on soil and groundwater contamination and cleanup, and environmental issues related to petroleum production and distribution.

Caryl L. Walti, RG, CEM is Principal of CW Consulting. She provides water resource and environmental consulting services to private and industrial clients.

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