Early in the new year, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on an ordinance requiring pharmaceutical manufacturers to pay for and implement convenient programs for consumers to dispose of unused and out of date medications. This comes on the heels of a 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals decision upholding a similar ordinance adopted by Alameda County in 2012 against an industry attack. Not surprisingly, the industry opposes a new ordinance in San Francisco despite the fact that when companies band together and support proper disposal – like they do in Canada – it costs so little per bottle, they haven’t raised drug prices.
Clean Water Action has released a new report exposing the threats to air and water from oil wastewater disposal into open-air and unlined pits. Across the Central Valley of California, already the home of severe water shortages, degraded groundwater and the worst air quality in the country, Big Oil is dumping wastewater containing a mixture of harmful chemicals, including volatile organic compounds and heavy metals, into unlined and open-air pits. These pits are designed both to percolate the toxic wastewater into the ground and evaporate it into the air. California water and air regulators have allowed this form of waste disposal despite the fact that they are aware that many of these operations have inadequate and severely out of date permits, and that some are creating huge underground plumes of wastewater that threaten nearby drinking and irrigation water.
“We cannot continue to jeopardize the quality of one of our most precious natural resources. My priority with this bill is the safety of Californians.
State permits more than 2,000 oil and gas injection wells in protected sources of drinking water despite shrinking water supplies during drought
(February 9, 2015) —Thousands of California oil and gas injection wells may be in violation of the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, according to documents turned over to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Friday by the California Division of Oil Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) regarding the state’s Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class II Program.
After decades of failing to enforce state laws meant to protect California's groundwater from oil industry discharges, regulators have announced a new plan to oversee oil and gas wastewater disposal into open pits, also known as sumps. The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (the Regional Board) announced Thursday that it will begin to more actively oversee this disposal method. Clean Water Action said the plan does not go far enough and called for a statewide prohibition on oil sumps.
The 2014 groundwater legislation that Clean Water Action helped pass was a big victory for California! But there’s still work to be done to ensure that California has a sustainable supply of groundwater to support our future water needs.
One major gap is the lack of information about groundwater aquifers. Take action to make information for our groundwater available to the public.
California’s drought has depleted California’s reservoirs. It has also had a huge impact on our precious groundwater basins, causing hundreds of wells to go dry and leaving us more vulnerable to future droughts. In normal years, groundwater represents up to 40% of California’s water supply (that rises to 50% or more in droughts). In this extreme drought, our groundwater levels have been dropping at an unprecedented rate – up to 200 feet in some areas.