Water Boards Turn Focus Toward Oil Field Waste

Water Law  

March 3, 2014


In addition to removing oil field sumps from coverage under its Low Threat General Permit, the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board is targeting its focus on oil field waste facilities, particularly in the Kern County area.  Disposal operations that have been in business for decades have recently come under closer scrutiny and the Central Valley Board has been issuing numerous Notices of Violation (NOVs) and threatening further enforcement actions and penalties for discharges of high salinity wastes to land.  This is all occurring as the Central Valley Board is simultaneously proposing an exception process for salinity discharges to allow higher salinity discharges while it creates a more collaborative regulatory approach through the CV-SALTS process.  Oil field waste disposal operations, which dispose of high salt produced water, would be wise to follow what is happening in the Central Valley and participate individually or through a trade association in the CV-SALTS program to ensure these wastes are regulated reasonably.

For more information, contact Melissa Thorme at or 916.520.5376.