Follow the Soapbox
 
Picture
Think Progress
by Natasha Geiling
May 5, 2015 at 9:28 am

As California farmers face a fourth year of the state’s historic drought, they’re finding water in unexpected places — like Chevron’s Kern River oil field, which has been selling recycled wastewater from oil production to farmers in California’s Kern County. Each day, Chevron recycles and sells 21 million gallons of wastewater to farmers, which is then applied on about 10 percent of Kern County’s farmland. And while some praise the program as a model for dealing with water shortages, environmental groups are raising concerns about the water’s safety, according to a recent story in the Los Angeles Times.

Tests conducted by Water Defense, an environmental group founded by actor Mark Ruffalo in 2010, have found high levels of acetone and methylene chloride — compounds that can be toxic to humans — in wastewater from Chevron used for irrigation purposes. The tests also found the presence of oil, which is supposed to be removed from the wastewater during recycling.

“All these chemicals of concern are flowing in the irrigation canal,” Scott Smith, chief scientist for Water Defense, told ThinkProgress. “If you were a gas station and were spilling these kinds of chemicals into the water, you would be shut down and fined.”

Chevron, which produces around 70,000 barrels of oil and 760,000 barrels of water each day at the Kern River oil field, has been selling water to farmers in the surrounding area for two decades. But government authorities have never required that water to be tested for chemicals used in oil production — only naturally occurring toxins like salts and arsenic. And even those standards are “decades-old,” according to the Los Angeles Times.

Before getting to the Central Valley fields, wastewater from the Kern River oil field is mixed with walnut shells, which helps remove residual oil. The water then passes through a series of treatment ponds before flowing down an eight-mile canal to the Cawelo Water District. While in the canal, the wastewater is sometimes diluted with freshwater — and sometimes not. The water from the Kern River oil field is applied to some 45,000 acres of crops, irrigating everything from nut trees to citrus fruits.

Last year, the California state legislature passed a law requiring oil companies to disclose the chemicals that they use in oil extraction, and in April, California water authorities declared that oil companies would need to start checking to make sure that those same chemicals aren’t making it into recycled water bound for agricultural use. Oil companies have until June 15 to disclose the results of these new tests.

“We need to make sure we fully understand what goes into the wastewater,” Clay Rodgers, assistant executive officer of the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board, told the Los Angeles Times.

To test the recycled wastewater for contaminants, Water Defense’s Smith — who has consulted with the EPA and other government offices on more than 50 oil spills — took samples from 10 different points of varying depth along the Cawelo canal’s eight-mile stretch. Smith compares his testing method to a video, and says the state’s method is more like an instant picture — it looks at the wastewater for a split second, and can miss contaminants. His method, he contends, gives a better holistic picture of the water’s composition. One sample Smith took had levels of methylene chloride — an industrial solvent used to soften crude oil — as high as 56 parts per billion, four times the amount of methylene chloride Smith found in 2013 when he tested parts of an Arkansas river fouled by the 2013 ExxonMobil tar sands pipeline spill.

Chevron is pushing back against claims that the wastewater contains dangerous chemicals, saying in a statement emailed to the Los Angeles Times that “protection of people and the environment is a core value for Chevron, and we take all necessary steps to ensure the protection of our water resources.” Out of an “abundance of caution,” however, both Chevron and the Cawelo Water District will contract with an outside group to test the wastewater. Still, Chevron would not disclose publicly the fluids it uses for drilling or well maintenance.

Blake Sanden, an agriculture extension agent and irrigation water expert with UC Davis, told the Los Angeles Times that farmers can smell the petrochemicals in the water, but most assume that the soil is filtering out any harmful toxins before they can be absorbed by the crops. While soil does filter out some impurities, Sanden says it’s impossible to know for sure whether waste from oil production is making its way from irrigation water into the roots and leaves of crops.

To Smith, that’s just another missing piece of information that needs to be understood before wastewater from oil production is deemed safe for agriculture.

“The state appears to not even be testing for oil in the water,” Smith said. “You’re not going to find chemicals of concern if you don’t look for them.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, monitoring the oil fields has been a “low priority” for California’s Water State Resources Control Board, the state body that regulates wastewater. The burden for testing wastewater falls largely on the oil companies, which in the past have sought to reduce testing and disclosure requirements due to concerns over time and expense.

With the drought placing more attention on water resources, Smith says that it’s important for testing of wastewater to continue.

“We want to work with Chevron, we want to work with the regulators. We want to use multiple methods of testing,” he said. “That’s the best way to figure out what’s in that water and what can be done to solve it.”

 


Comments

10/01/2015 12:09am

I think that is very very risky! Most probably we will feel the aftereffect of eating crops watered with oil waste water in a few years... or, maybe our children will feel it.

Reply
10/02/2015 7:50pm

I like what you guys are up too. This type of clever work and exposure! Keep up the wonderful works guys I've added you guys to my personal blogroll.

Reply
10/27/2015 10:56pm

I remember this valuable and a very unique post in my mind so that i get a good review about stocks in nice manner

Reply
10/28/2015 4:15am

Really informative post share by you.Thanks for that kind different work.keep it.

Reply
10/28/2015 10:33pm

I would like to refer to one important thing that we like how you will create the post to the point.

Reply
12/01/2015 8:27am

Nice article with best content .

Reply
12/30/2015 1:54pm

I must agree with the things you wrote although I never thought about it before. Take a look at this web-site, I am sure you will find more interesting stuff.I am very pleased to see this article, Thank you for sharing

Reply
02/15/2016 12:09pm

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY AND HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016 HAPPY NEW YEAR 2016

Reply
03/15/2016 10:36pm

Very well written article. It will be helpful to everyone who employess it, including me. Keep up the good work - can't wait to read more posts.

Reply
03/30/2016 12:17am

Excellent post share with us and this blog is impresses more people to reading that blog

Reply
04/11/2016 1:22am

http://www.rolandgarrosdirect.com

Reply

Very well written site article.

Reply

any time problem solve this very good site

Reply

this is very fast site and very good looking your site

Reply

delhi is very best plase and your site very very best nice

Reply

free! very very great nice

Reply
05/28/2016 1:31am

Great post you site

Reply

your site is very best thanks for shera

Reply
06/06/2016 11:04pm

What more is there to say?

Reply

Vashikaran Expert astrologer Vashikaran is a part of the methodology Vedic that remedies the individual of its question of the everyday life.
this site very best i am impress.

Reply
07/12/2016 3:24am

Excellent article! We are linking to this great post on our site.

Reply
07/22/2016 5:27am

Great tips and very easy to understand. This will definitely be very useful for me when I get a chance to start my blog.

Reply


engineering thermodynamics by p.k.nag pdf

Reply
08/16/2016 3:22am

This: Term insurance is if you do n't want life insurance to be paid whenever they die of senior years. It is frequently purchased to afford a 10 or perhaps 20 12 many weeks period, like each time someone with young children want coverage should they kick the bucket prematurely. The precise premiums are typically cheap, but skyrockets at the end of your message, so some people cancel the exact coverage.

Reply
08/16/2016 3:23am

You will discover green cocktails everywhere. We have now heard due to the fact we were being children the way important it truly is to try to eat our green vegetables. As young children, we typically wrinkled your nose or maybe fed this greens towards dog. As we grow in adults, we study that eating the suitable kinds connected with food is important to our wellbeing. The older saying "you are whatever you eat" happens to be true with the wellness.

Reply
08/16/2016 3:23am

There is definitely equation which often floats about the minds regarding countless women and many more increasingly, adult males nowadays, in addition to that’s Botox = Luxury. It’s uncomplicated. In order to help keep looking more youthful and wrinkle absolutely free, the best solution is to acquire botox images. There are typically many gel botox alternatives that you can purchase place right now, and may perhaps cost anything upwards from some fat.

Reply
08/16/2016 3:23am

Bolivia is some of those countries which often frustrates anyone into qualified it. Given sufficient time, its quirkiness is why is you keep returning for considerably more. As your second poorest state in Latina North america, an exciting spirit may be a must, although you may enjoy a remarkably high excellent lifestyle.

Reply
08/16/2016 3:24am

Some people enjoy accomplishing sports along with the optimum time to think about something new and interesting or devote more time to enjoying a common sport will be during holiday break! Travel corporations attract in conjunction with exciting helps ensure: Bungee moving, rock camping, scuba deep-sea diving, sky deep-sea diving, perfect alpine winter sports slopes – that is certainly a thrilling time! And quite possibly a cause of future problems.

Reply
08/16/2016 3:24am

The notion that trends in fashion join in a phenomenon often known as the trickle down effect is almost certainly recognised by means of fashion pundits. A strategy of social emulation connected with society's uppr echelons because of the subordinates delivers myriad credits for perpetual and incessant changes in fashion through some sort of sequence connected with novelty in addition to imitation. Dior's 'New Look' connected with 1947 consisted of creations that had been only affordable into a minority connected with affluent women of the time.

Reply

it is best article i read

Reply

It is really a nice post done by you

Reply

Excellent post.I want to thank you for this informative read, I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.

Reply
09/13/2016 11:06pm

That is a big news for California and this is also going wrong for all farmers. They don't know how they are playing with the wrong treatment of their crops.

Reply

The inhabitants of California should take an action against them and save yearly raise crops.

Reply

vidmate is developed for downloading manager for android devices to make downloadong of online videos fast and free with less internet charges

Reply
09/25/2016 8:04am

vbbngf

Reply



Leave a Reply