Yesterday, California’s Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) announced (pdf) a settlement with Vintage Production California LLC, under which Vintage Production will pay a $60,000 penalty for discharging hydraulic fracturing (fracking) fluids into an unlined sump in violation of the California Water Code. The settlement agreement may be found here (pdf).
The settlement arises out of an October 6, 2012, incident near Shafter, California, documented in a YouTube video, which depicted the discharge of unidentified oil and gas-related fluids into an earthen sump. We previously reported on this incident here and here. The YouTube video led to an investigation by the CVRWQCB and the issuance of an April 4, 2013, investigative order to Vintage Production under California Water Code Section 13267. The investigation culminated in a July 23, 2013, Notice of Violation (pdf) to Vintage Production for the unlawful discharge of fluids in violation of California Water Code Section 13350. The settlement announced yesterday resolves the Notice of Violation and includes the imposition of administrative civil liability against Vintage Production of $60,000, the maximum of $5,000 per day for twelve days of violation of Section 13350. Final approval of the settlement is expected shortly.