Oil company's fracking activities in Kern County investigated by water board

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) — Vintage Production California, an oil business conducting hydraulic fracking in Kern County to enhance oil and gas production, is under investigation by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, a state agency responsible for the preservation and enhancement of water quality.

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Central Valley Water Board said Tuesday that it took action after seeing a YouTube video that appears to show Vintage Production California, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corp., dumping "significant quantities" of hydraulic fracking wastewater into an unlined pond in violation of California Water Code and applicable water quality regulations.

"When any unpermitted water discharge activities are brought to our attention, especially one that may involve hazardous materials, we will move swiftly to ensure our regional surface and ground waters are not compromised," Central Valley Water Board Executive Officer Pamela Creedon said in a news release.  "Following our investigation we will take the appropriate steps, which could result in the issuance of one or more enforcement orders that may include a cease and desist order, a cleanup and abatement order, and may also include civil liabilities."

Vintage Production California has until May 6 to report to the board with details about its well operation, which is near Shafter.

Thursday, Vintage Production California spokeswoman Susie Geiger released this statement: "We continue to work with the Central Valley Water Board to provide the requested information. While our review is not complete, we can tell you that our operational practice is to maintain hydraulic fracturing fluids in onsite tanks. We are confident that our operations do not pose a risk to human health or the environment.