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Public Workshop on Fracking-Related Groundwater Modeling Scheduled in Sacramento

December 4, 2014 by Eric Adair in News with 0 Comments

On December 11, 2014, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) will host a public workshop to discuss and seek input on the development of model criteria for groundwater monitoring related to oil and gas well stimulation treatments, including hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The workshop will be the third in a series of public meetings designed to assist the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) in its efforts to comply with the requirements of SB 4 (pdf), California’s landmark hydraulic fracturing legislation. SB 4 requires the SWRCB to:

  • Consult with the Division of Oil, Gas and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) during DOGGR’s development of regulations for well stimulation treatments.
  • Enter into a formal agreement with DOGGR regarding roles and responsibilities in the regulation of well stimulation treatments.
  • Designate one or more qualified third-party contractors that adhere to board-specified standards and protocols to perform property owner requested water quality sampling and testing.
  • Audit and review sampling and testing conducted by the third-party contractor(s).
  • Develop model groundwater monitoring criteria by July 1, 2015, in consultation with DOGGR and other stakeholders that outline the approach to be implemented for either well-by-well or regional scale groundwater monitoring.
  • Begin implementation of a regional groundwater monitoring program by January 1, 2016.

Next week’s meeting will focus on the SWRCB’s development of model groundwater monitoring criteria, in conjunction with LLNL, the expert retained by the SWRCB. SWRCB retained LLNL under the direction of SB 4, which requires that SWRCB:

seek the advice of experts on the design of the model groundwater monitoring criteria. The experts shall assess and make recommendations to the state board on the model criteria. These recommendations shall prioritize implementation of regional groundwater monitoring programs statewide, as warranted, based upon the prevalence of well stimulation treatments of oil and gas wells and groundwater suitable as a source of drinking water. [Water Code Section 10783(d).]

The SWRCB also must:

seek the advice of stakeholders representing the diverse interests of the oil- and gas-producing areas of the state. The stakeholders shall include the oil and gas industry, agriculture, environmental justice, and local government, among others, with regional representation commensurate with the intensity of oil and gas development in that area. The stakeholders shall also make recommendations to the state board regarding the development and implementation of groundwater monitoring criteria, including priority locations for implementation. [Water Code Section 10783(e).]

Thus, at the December 11 meeting, presentations will be given by LLNL, the SWRCB, DOGGR, and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Various stakeholders – including representatives of the oil and gas industry, environmental groups, local government, and agricultural interests – will also give presentations. Links to past presentations given at meetings in Los Angeles and Bakersfield are available on the SWRCB’s SB 4 page.

The meeting will be held at the Cal/EPA Building, 1001 I Street, Sacramento on December 11th, 2014, from 8 am to 5 pm (pdf). The meeting agenda is available here (pdf).

For more information regarding California fracking issues, please contact Eric Adair. Follow Eric on Twitter:

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