Investigative report questions study that claims oilfield wastewater could safely irrigate fields
In 2018, The Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board commissioned a study to determine whether the wastewater produced during petroleum extraction could be used to safely irrigate fields. The study was prompted by concerns from legislators and the public after learning that the water that surfaces at oil and gas wells, called produced water, had already been pumped for decades to a water district north of Bakersfield, where it had been treated and blended with fresher water before being provided to growers for irrigation.
The study,published last fall, ultimately found no identifiable health risks associated with the practice. But a recent investigative report by Inside Climate News uncovered conflicts of interest among the authors and reviewers of the study, as well asknowledge gaps that call into question whether its authors even had enough information to reach their conclusion. In this interview, KVPR’s Kerry Klein speaks with West Coast Reporter Liza Gross of Inside Climate News about her investigation.