You Thought California’s Drought Couldn’t Get Any Worse? Enter Fracking.

Pumpjacks extract oil from an oilfield in Kern County, in California's ag-heavy Central Valley. <a href="http://www.shutterstock.com/pic-175228745/stock-photo-kern-county-california-november-pumpjacks-extract-oil-from-an-oilfield-in-kern-county.html?src=YF0zeko-XyQ3h7QSJMh0Iw-1-1">Christopher Halloran </a>/Shutterstock

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I have a great idea. Let’s take one of the globe’s most important agricultural regions, one with severe water constraints and a fast-dropping water table. And let’s set up shop there with a highly water-intensive form of fossil fuel extraction, one that throws off copious amounts of toxic wastewater. Nothing could possibly go wrong … right? Well…

Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation, according to state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity. The wastewater entered the aquifers through at least nine injection disposal wells used by the oil industry to dispose of waste contaminated with fracking fluids and other pollutants.

The documents also reveal that Central Valley Water Board testing found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitratescontaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewaterin water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations.

That’s from the Center for Biological Diversity. Hat tip DeSmogBlog.

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