Pacific Section AAPG Convention

Datapages, Inc.Print this page

Mandated Monitoring For Potential Hydraulic Fracturing Impacts Upon Groundwater In California: Update On SB-4 Expert Recommendations


Hydraulic fracturing has unlocked previously untapped unconventional oil and gas resources in the U.S., leading to the U.S. surpassing Saudi Arabia and Russia in daily oil production in mid-2014. However, public concern of potential environmental impacts such as induced seismicity and reduced water quality has grown over time. In response, California passed State Bill 4 (SB4) in September, 2013 to develop and establish a regulatory structure for unconventional resource extraction (hydraulic fracturing, acidizing, and other stimulation techniques) for the state. SB4 requires the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to develop groundwater monitoring criteria to be implemented across a range of spatial scales (from well-by-well to regional) for water quality effects from oil and gas wells subjected to well stimulation treatment. The legislation also calls upon the state board to seek the advice of experts on the design of these criteria. The SWRCB has contracted Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) as an expert advisor. LLNL has utilized both internal and externally contracted expertise to engage with industry, academia, government agencies and the general public in development of a scientifically based set of criteria for groundwater monitoring. In this presentation I will provide an overview of the process being followed and the latest developments from the team as we work toward our recommendations to the SWRCB. Disclaimer: This work performed under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Energy by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory under Contract DE-AC52-07NA27344.