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Aquifer Exemption Information

Status of the Division’s joint plan with the State Water Resources Control Board and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that fluids injected in connection with oil and gas production are not impacting water with current or potential future beneficial uses in California.

Interested Parties List

To receive emailed notices about future aquifer exemption activities, please send an email to comments@conservation.ca.gov. Please specify whether you are interested in these activities in a specific oil field, in a county or community, or on a statewide basis.

Page Contents:

 

Aquifers Historically Treated as Exempt (HTAE)

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, and the State Water Resources Control Board sent intent to advise the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”) on November 15, 2016 that ten of the eleven aquifers historically treated as exempt do not meet the federal regulatory criteria for exemption from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Accordingly, the State Agencies intend to request an amendment to the Memoranda of Agreement between the Division and US EPA for the purpose of clarifying that these aquifers are not exempt aquifers.

In addition, the State Agencies intend to advise US EPA that the one other aquifer historically treated as exempt – the Walker Formation underlying the Round Mountain Field – is currently the subject of aquifer exemption proposals. The proposal for the Walker Formation has been finalized and published for public comment (but not yet submitted to US EPA). Portions of this aquifer are included in the exemption proposal, while other portions are not included. The State Agencies therefore intend to also request that the amendment to the Memoranda of Agreement between the Division and US EPA clarify that this aquifer is not exempt, except with respect to any portion(s) that US EPA approves for exemption as a result of a future exemption proposal.


 

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Arroyo Grande

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on February 8, 2016 submitted a proposal to  the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand an aquifer exemption designation for the Dollie sands of the Pismo formation in the Arroyo Grande oil field. The field is in unincorporated San Luis Obispo County near the intersection of Ormonde Road and Price Canyon Road. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

In August 2015, state and regional officials sent the initial public notice regarding the expansion proposal. The initial public comment period was held from August 20 – September 21, with a public comment hearing on September 21st in San Luis Obispo. On December 2, 2015 officials provided additional information to the proposed exemption and reopened a 15-day supplemental comment period to receive comment on the additional information.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:


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Coalinga & Jacalitos

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources, with the concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board, is considering a proposal to exempt the Temblor Formation in the Jacalitos and Coalinga Oil Fields, located in Fresno County within and near the City of Coalinga, CA. Subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal is scheduled to be held on August 15, 2018. The public comment period closes at 5 p.m. on August 15, 2018. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

    

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Cymric

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on July 12, 2018 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designations for the Tulare Zone in the Cymric Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on February 27, 2018, and the public comment period ended March 14, 2018. For more information on the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

    

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Edison Vol. 1

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), with concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”), is considering a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for a portion of the Transition/Santa Margarita, Main Wicker Sands, and Pyramid Hill/Vedder Formations in the Edison Oil Field (incorporated Kern County, east of Bakersfield). Subject to approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

    

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Elk Hills Oil Field Phase 1

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on February 13, 2018 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to exempt the Phase 1 Area of the Lower Tulare Formation within the Elk Hills Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on October 24, 2017, and the initial public comment period ended October 24, 2017. For more information on the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:


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Elks Hills Oil Field Phase 2

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on February 13, 2018 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to exempt the Phase 2 Area of the Lower Tulare Formation within the Elk Hills Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on October 24, 2017, and the initial public comment period ended October 24, 2017. For more information on the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:


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Fruitvale

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on November 9, 2016 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand an aquifer exemption designation for the Santa Margarita Formation in the Fruitvale Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on August 15, 2016, and the public comment period ended August 29, 2016. For more information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Fruitvale Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

More Information about this Oil Zone and the Aquifer Exemption Recommendation:

   
  

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Jasmin

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on July 21, 2017 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designation for the Cantleberry Sands of the Vedder Formation in the Jasmin Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on April 19th, 2017, and the initial public comment period ended April 19, 2017. For more information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Jasmin Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

    

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Kern Front - Vedder

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), and State Water Resources Control Board on July 21, 2017 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designations for the Vedder Formation in the Kern Front Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on April 19th, 2017 in Bakersfield and the public comment period ended on April 19th, 2017. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Kern Front Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

    

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Kern Front - Chanac

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), with concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”), is considering a proposal to exempt the Upper Chanac Formation Oil Sand in a portion of the Kern Front Oil Field, about nine miles north of central Bakersfield, CA. Subject to approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on April 16th, 2018 in Bakersfield. The public comment period ended at 5:00pm on April 16th, 2018. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Kern Front Chanac Aquifer Exemption Application:

    

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Livermore

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), with concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”), is considering a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Greenville Sands member of the Cierbo Formation in the Livermore Oil Field located approximately 3,400 feet East of Greenville Road, the Eastern boundary for the Livermore City Limits. Subject to approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on January 11th, 2017. Public comments were accepted until 5:00pm on January 25th, 2017. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

 

Revised Statement of Basis and Notice Documents for 15-Day Comment Period:

On April 2, 2018, the Division, in consultation with the staff of the State Water Board opened a 15-day supplemental comment period to receive public input regarding a revision to the Statement of Basis. The Statement of Basis has been modified to reflect that the aquifer exemption proposal satisfies the federal criteria under 40 CFR § 146.4(a)&( b)(1), revised from the previously referenced 40 CFR § 146.4(a)&(c).

 

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Livermore Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

More Information about this Oil Zone and the Aquifer Exemption Recommendation:


 

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Lost Hills Phase 1​​

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), with concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”), is considering a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Tulare Formation in the Lost Hills Oil Field (incorporated Kern County, 35 miles Northwest of Bakersfield ). Subject to approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production. ​

A public hearing of the proposal is scheduled to be held on June 19, 2018. The public comment period closes at 5 p.m. on June 19, 2018. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.
 

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Lynch Canyon Aquifer Exemption Application:


 

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Lynch Canyo​n​​

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources ("Division"), with the concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board ("State Water Board"), is considering a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Lanigan Sand of the Monterey Formation in and around the Lynch Canyon Oil Field, located in Monterey County about 2.5 miles southeast of the town of San Ardo, CA, on Dead Mans Gulch Road. Subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.​

A public hearing of the proposal was held on September 6, 2017. The public comment period closed at 5 p.m. on September 23, 2017. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Lynch Canyon Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Documents:


 

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McKittrick

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on July 12, 2018 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designations for the Tulare Zone in the McKittrick Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on February 27, 2018, and the public comment period ended March 14, 2018. For more information on the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

    

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​Mount Poso

On February 15, 2017, with concurrence from State Water Resources Control Board, the California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources ("Division") submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency ("US EPA") requesting expansion of the aquifer exemption designations for the Pyramid Hill Sand and Vedder Formation in the Mount Poso Oil Field. On April 17th, 2017, the US EPA approved the request.

This allows the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified areas, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

After the requested aquifer exemption was approved, however, the Division became aware that certain maps, tables, and cross-sections appearing in the application document did not accurately depict the exemption areas otherwise supported by data presented in the proposal materials. Therefore, on February 21st, 2018, the State submitted to the US EPA, an addendum to the original aquifer exemption application, which contains an updated application document with corrected tables, maps, and cross-sections that better illustrate the proposed exemption areas.

 

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Mount Poso Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

More Information about this Oil Zone and the Aquifer Exemption Recommendation:

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Addendum to the Mount Mount Poso Aquifer Exemption Application:

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​North Belridge

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), with concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”), is considering a proposal to exempt the Tulare Formation in a portion of the North Belridge Oil Field, about 45 miles west of central Bakersfield, CA. Subject to approval by the US Environmental Protection Agency (“US EPA”), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal will be held on June 19th, 2018 in Bakersfield. Public comments will be accepted until 5:00pm on June 19th, 2018. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

 

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the North Belridge Aquifer Exemption Application:


 

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​Poso Creek

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources ("Division") and State Water Resources Control Board submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designation for the Etchegoin Zone of the Etchegoin Formation and Chanac Formation in the Poso Creek Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, for enhanced oil recovery.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on November 29, 2017. The public comment period ended at 5:00pm on November 29, 2017. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

 

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Poso Creek Aquifer Exemption Application:


 

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Round Mountain

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on November 30, 2016 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designations for the Jewett Sand, Pyramid Hill Sand, Vedder Formation, and the Walker Formation in the Round Mountain Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on June 14, 2016, and the initial public comment period ended June 25. Some of the public comments provoked the State to make changes to the application which are reflected in the Round Mountain Addendum. The addendum required a 15-day supplemental comment period which ended September 6. For more information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Round Mountain Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

More Information about this Oil Zone and the Aquifer Exemption Recommendation:


 

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San Ardo McCool Ranch

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”), with the concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”), is considering a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Lombardi and Aurignac Sands of the Monterey Formation in and around the San Ardo and McCool Ranch Oil Fields, located in Monterey County about 2 miles southeast of the town of San Ardo, along Highway 101 at Alvarado Rd. Subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on February 9, 2017. On February 14, the public comment period was extended 15 days, from 5 p.m. February 16 to 5 p.m. March 3, 2017. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the San Ardo McCool Ranch Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

More Information about this Oil Zone and the Aquifer Exemption Recommendation:

    

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Sespe 

The California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources ("Division"), with the concurrence of the State Water Resources Control Board ("State Water Board"), is considering a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Basal Sespe Zone of the Sespe Formation in the Sespe Oil Field, located in Ventura County about 3 miles north of the City of Fillmore, CA. Subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("US EPA"), the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.​

A public hearing of the proposal was held on October 24, 2017. The public comment period ended at 5 p.m. on November 8, 2017. For additional information about the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

Tejon

The California Department of Conservation/Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (“Division”) and State Water Resources Control Board on December 2, 2016 submitted a proposal to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting to expand the aquifer exemption designations for the Transition Zone in the Tejon Oil Field. The proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

A public hearing of the proposal was held on September 12, 2016, and the initial public comment period ended September 26. For more information on the aquifer exemption proposal, please see the notices and other documents below.

Public Notice and Documents Relating to the Tejon Aquifer Exemption Application:

Public Hearing Document:

More Information about this Oil Zone and the Aquifer Exemption Recommendation:


 

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