© 2024 KVPR | Valley Public Radio - White Ash Broadcasting, Inc. :: 89.3 Fresno / 89.1 Bakersfield
89.3 Fresno | 89.1 Bakersfield
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Water safe to use in Bakersfield neighborhood after oil seeps into water lines

Oil pumps are part of the landscape in Kern County, CA, the top oil-producing county in the state.
Harika Maddala
Oil pumps are part of the landscape in Kern County, CA, the top oil-producing county in the state.

This story was updated on Monday, June 10, 2024 at 9:30 a.m. Click here to find the latest headlines from KVPR.

California Water Service Co. canceled a "do not drink" water warning on Sunday for an area of central Bakersfield after oil was found in the water lines last week. The water agency reported after multiple water quality tests, it determined it was safe to resume normal water use.

Since last Tuesday, oil was discovered coming out of water hydrants, leading crews to cut off water access to an area near Truxton Avenue and Highway 58, just west of downtown Bakersfield. Water customers in the affected area were under an order not to use or drink the water.

California Water Service Co., which manages water service in that area, said the source of the oil appeared to be a nearby crude oil storage facility. The water agency said in a news release Thursday the facility improperly connected its equipment to a hose bib, causing oil to backflow into the water lines.

“This was not an authorized nor permitted connection,” the statement read.

The Bakersfield Californian reported the oil producer being blamed for the oil seepage, identified as Griffin Resources LLC, has a history of regulatory problems. The company has been accused by the state of allowing methane leaks in the area, and regulators have found the company improperly disposed of waste and maintained inadequate containment measures, the Californian reported.

An official with the company told the newspaper the incident was not done on purpose.

Customers began reporting issues with their water line as far back as Monday, when air was found coming out of a customer’s water line. After a second report of air in the water line, crews returned to the area and then began seeing oil in the water.

Water crews reportedly isolated the affected area from other parts of the water system, Cal Water said. The agency received an approval by the state’s division of drinking water and delivered bottled water to customers, as well as fliers with information about the incident and how to stay safe.

Water quality testing was being conducted as of Friday and the weekend.

The main affected customers are located along Office Park Drive, Commercial Way, Commerce Drive, and Truxton Avenue. Cal Water said customers can file claims with the city, and update their contact information with the agency to receive up-to-date service information.

Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado is KVPR's News Director. Prior to joining the station's news department in 2022, he was a reporter for PBS NewsHour and The Fresno Bee.