Published: April 8, 2015

    The Oil Industry’s Impact on California’s Water Supply

    Travelled by air recently? With baggage costs, inedible food, lost luggage, and flight cancellations, you have to wonder if the airline industry has ever heard of customer service—half the time you’d think airlines only grudgingly allow passengers on their planes at all. It’s part of a larger customer service problem that seems to be reaching epidemic proportions—from unfriendly waiters to the red tape of government offices, it can be difficult to find the help you need.

    We prefer to be part of the solution rather than part of problem at Pelican by going the extra mile to meet our customers’ water filtration needs. We think access to cleaner water is essential for health and happiness. Especially if you live near a California oil drilling operation.

    On March 3, 2015, California oil drilling regulators ordered twelve injection wells in Kern County to cease operations out of concerns that injecting wastewater back into underground reservoirs could contaminate drinking and agricultural water. That makes 23 injection sites closed in Kern County since last year.

    Injecting oil drilling “production water” back underground is common practice in California, where oil drilling typically produces much more wastewater than oil due to the state’s geology. While 205.3 million barrels of oil were drilled in 2014, the industry produced over 3.3 billion barrels of brackish, unusable wastewater, which is typically injected right back into the reservoirs from which it was pumped.

    In the case of Kern County, these reservoirs are alarmingly close to aquifers providing water for drinking and agricultural use, and no-one seems able to adequately determine if wastewater isn’t contaminating usable groundwater. State oil and gas supervisor Steven Bohlen has stated limited testing by the Water Board revealed no risk, but the key word there is “limited.”

    Which brings us back to customer service, which is defined as going the extra mile for your clients, customers, and—if you’re in government—your citizenry. The water in Kern County may indeed be safe, but how confident would you be if your water supply was ensured by only “limited” tests? With Pelican, we don’t believe in limited. We believe in guarantees. If we say our filtration and water softening systems provide cleaner, safer water, we back it up. It’s simply great customer service.