Exposing Aquifer Exemptions

We are working to ensure that aquifers that could be used for drinking water are not sacrificed to the fossil fuel industry. Aquifer exemptions prioritize the fossil fuel industry over drinking water by writing off groundwater forever.

US Map with Aquifer Exemptions plotted

Sacrificing Water for Oil and Gas Profit

The Aquifer Exemption program in the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) Underground Injection Control (UIC) program allows certain oil and gas and mining activity to occur in groundwater that would otherwise be protected as a drinking water source. 

Map of Colorado aquifer exemptions

Colorado Aquifer Exemptions

Program that Sacrifices Underground Drinking Waterfor Oil and Gas Injection Raises Questions

Clean Water Action: New Reporting Reveals the Oil Industry Still Injecting into Protected Groundwater in California

“It’s unacceptable that oil companies are still injecting toxic wastewater into potential drinking water sources, in violation of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Despite significant progress by state agencies in recent years to improve California’s Underground Injection Control program, the oil and gas industry still has far too much influence. State regulators need to stand up to fossil fuel interests and take more aggressive action to protect our water."

Kern River Oil Field

Underground Injection: Oil and Gas Wastewater Disposal and Enhanced Recovery

The majority of oil and gas wastewater in California is injected underground putting our aquifers at risk.

From We All Live Downstream

April 4, 2016

California recently became the poster child for problems with oil and gas injection wells.

US Map with Aquifer Exemptions plotted
March 25, 2016

On March 23, we sent a legal petition to EPA requesting the Agency revoke or amend its rules governing Aquifer Exemptions.

Kern River Oil Field in California. Photo credit: Andrew Grinberg / Clean Water Action
January 3, 2016

Highlights from some of Clean Water's favorite insights and developments this year in the world of oil and gas, drinking water protection and climate change.