Water Board Announces Meeting to Develop SB 4 Groundwater Monitoring Criteria

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On Wednesday, July 9, 2014, the State Water Resources Control Board (“Water Board”) announced that it will be holding a “Stakeholder Meeting to Develop Groundwater Monitoring Model Criteria for Oil & Gas Areas.”  The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 7, 2014 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Kern County Supervisors Chambers in Bakersfield.  The Water Board is required to develop model groundwater monitoring criteria by July 1, 2015 pursuant to Senate Bill 4 (“SB 4”).  (Wat. Code, § 10783, subd. (c).) 

Interim well stimulation regulations, issued by the Department of Conservation’s Division of Oil, Gas & Geothermal Resources (“DOGGR”) came into effect on January 1, 2014.  DOGGR is on schedule to publish permanent regulations on January 1, 2015.  Under the interim regulations, well operators must submit a groundwater monitoring plan, or request an exemption from the Water Board if the operator can show the absence of protected waters.  (Interim Regulations, § 1783.1, subd. (b)(4).)  If the exemption is granted, the Water Board issues a written concurrence.  (§ 1783.4, subd. (c).)

Other requirements of SB 4, specific to the Water Board, include consultation and creation of a formal agreement with DOGGR regarding well stimulation regulation; designation of “one or more qualified independent third-party contractor[s] . . . to perform the water sampling and testing;” and audit and review sampling conducted by third-party contractors. (Pub. Res. Code, §§ 3160, subd. (c)(2), (c)(7)(B)-(C).) Additionally, the Water Board must begin implementation of a regional groundwater monitoring plan by January 1, 2016. (Wat. Code, § 10783, subd. (h).)

To read more about SB 4 and groundwater monitoring criteria, see Stoel Rives’ SB 4 Resources Page here. For maps showing groundwater in the state, visit the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) websites: the Southern San Joaquin Valley and the Sacramento Valley.

 

Topics:  Environmental Policies, Groundwater, Water, Water Resources Control Board

Published In: Energy & Utilities Updates, Environmental Updates, Zoning, Planning & Land Use Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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