State Regulations: California
The California Department of Conservation's Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources oversees the drilling, operation, maintenance, and plugging and abandonment of oil, natural gas, and geothermal wells. The regulatory program emphasizes the development of oil, natural gas, and geothermal resources in the state through sound engineering practices that protect the environment, prevent pollution, and ensure public safety. Other agencies that may be involved in the regulation of drilling wastes include the State Water Resources Control Board and appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Boards, the California Integrated Waste Management Board, the California Air Resources Board and appropriate Air Quality Management Districts or Air Pollution Control Districts, and the Department of Toxic Substances Control.
California Department of Conservation
Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources
801 K Street, MS 20
Sacramento, CA 95814-3530
(916) 445-9686 (phone)
(916) 323-0424 (fax)
State Water Resources Control Board
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814 (street address)
P.O. Box 100
Sacramento, CA 95812 (mailing address)
(916) 341-5250 (phone)
(916) 341-5252 (fax)
Regional Water Quality Control Boards
(Click on map for addresses, phone numbers, and fax numbers.)
California Integrated Waste Management Board
1001 I Street
P.O. Box 4025
Sacramento, CA 95812-4025
(916) 341-6000 (phone)
California Air Resources Board
1001 I Street
P.O. Box 2815
Sacramento, CA 95812
(916) 322-2990 (phone)
(916) 445-5025 (fax)
Department of Toxic Substances Control
1001 I Street
Sacramento, CA 95814-2828 (street address)
P.O. Box 806
Sacramento, CA 95812-0806 (mailing address)
Disposal Practices and Applicable Regulations
California has adopted a much narrower E&P waste exemption than at the federal level. The exemption applies in California if the waste displays the toxicity characteristic for hazardous waste based solely on the Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure (TCLP). The exemption does not apply if toxicity is determined based on criteria other than the TCLP, or the waste meets any of the other three characteristics of hazardous waste — ignitability, corrosivity, and reactivity. In consequence, E&P wastes that exhibit a hazardous characteristic or contain a hazardous waste may be regulated as hazardous wastes. Title 14 (Natural Resources), Division 2 (Department of Conservation), Chapter 4 (Development, Regulation, Conservation of Oil and Gas Resources) of the California Code of Regulations (CCR) contains rules governing subsurface injection or disposal and environmental protection.
- The rules for onshore subsurface disposal and injection operations are found in Article 3 (Requirements) of Subchapter 1 (Onshore Well Regulations).
- Section 1724.6 provides that approval must be obtained from the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources before any subsurface injection or disposal can begin. The operator must provide the pertinent and necessary data for the evaluation of the proposed project.
- Section 1724.10 stipulates filing, notification, operating, and testing requirements for underground injection wells and projects.
- The rules for offshore subsurface disposal and injection operations are found in Article 3 (Regulations) of Subchapter 1.1 (Offshore Well Regulations).
- Section 1748.1 provides that all discharges into the ocean shall conform to the requirements of the appropriate Regional Water Quality Control Board.
- Section 1748.2 requires the prior approval of all subsurface injection projects by the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources. The operator must submit certain technical data regarding the project.
- Additional environmental protection rules for subsurface disposal are found in Article 3 (Requirements) of Subchapter 2 (Environmental Protection).
- Section 1775(a) states that oil field wastes shall be disposed of in a manner that does not damage life, health, property, freshwater aquifers, surface waters, natural resources, nor menace public safety. Disposal sites shall conform to State Water Resources Control Board and appropriate Regional Board regulations.
- Section 1775(b) prohibits the dumping of harmful chemicals where subsequent meteoric waters might wash significant quantities into freshwaters shall be prohibited. Drilling mud shall not be permanently disposed of into open pits.
- Other regulations govern: