Are our local officials doing enough to protect our water?

They are moving in the right direction - and can do more. 

Photo - Anterra Energy, Wooley Road in Oxnard. A Commerical Class II Oil Field Waste facility that disposes of waste into an underground injection well. Recent tests of water wells within a half mile of Anterra have high levels of inorganic compounds. The facility is surrounded by strawberry fields. This is a GoogleEarth image from about 2013. 


Yesterday, Oct 18, 2016,  the Ventura County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to provide better information to individuals applying for and receiving water well permits. And they asked staff to examine information provided by CFROG and report back. This is a good step. 

 Read todays article about the hearing at the VC Star website. 

Here are the few important points the article missed -

    1. Toluene and other pollutants HAVE been found in groundwater wells in Ventura County. The well water is in fact contaminated. Recent test results held by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control District (LARWQCD), show that groundwater in at least two locations is contaminated. And we do not yet know the full scope of the issue - water quality tests from two locations have been received. More are sure to be ordered.

More testing will be done as the Water Quality Control District continues their investigation. Attachments 1-4 HERE – the water quality reports in the LARWQCV files.

    • One set of wells in Upper Ojai shows high levels of toluene and other inorganic compounds. Those wells sit amongst an active oil field, and near the site of an historic oil “sump” that has since been completely remediated. Files indicated that sump did leak into the ground. View water quality tests HERE Attachments 1-3.
    • The other test results are from the area around Anterra Energy in Oxnard. Anterra is an oil field waste disposal site that uses an injection well to dispose of oil field waste. View water quality tests here Attachment 4.
    • Note- all testing was conducted by the operators and submitted to the LARWQCB per directives.
    • Based on those two files – Dr. Brad Newton PhD hydro-geologist concluded,

“Ojai Oil Company discharged exploration and or production fluids to a sump. The presence of toluene and high concentrations of inorganic compounds in exceedance of the MCL for drinking water are present in adjacent water wells. Based on these findings there is cause for concern that oil and gas exploration and production activities have contaminated groundwater aquifers within the County of Ventura. Further investigation would be necessary to understand the extent of groundwater contamination/impacts from oil and gas operations throughout the county.” View Dr. Newton's report and attachments HERE. 

    • These two cases are just a snapshot of what COULD be a much bigger problem. CFROG has asked Ventura County to create and implement a plan to understand the full scope of the problem - and to develop a plan to remediate contaminated groundwaters should they be found.


2) Files held by the LARWQB do show that a historic sump in an oil field in Upper Ojai did leak into the soil. See Attachment 3 HERE – Response from operator.

3)    At the Board of Supervisor hearing (Oct 18) during public comment Mr. Bob Poole, a spokesperson for Western States Petroleum Association stated, “There is no issue here.” He said the reason we were there was simply an attempt to spread fear. CFROG believes our drinking water and water used for agriculture is very much an issue worthy of our time, the time of elected officials and staff. 

How to get involved - 

Write to your supervisor asking them to ensure they work to understand the full scope of groundwater contamination in Ventura County and to do all they can to ensure our groundwater basins are fully protected from any potential harm from oil and gas operations in the County. 

Send your letter to the editor of our local newspapers. 

Share your letter with CFROG - email to: