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Groundwater Monitoring: Oil & Gas Production Areas - SB4
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Water Quality in Areas of Oil and Gas Production

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Notice of Public Comment Hearing: Proposed Aquifer Exemption

On August 20, 2015 the California Department of Conservation, Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR), in consultation with the State Water Resources Control Board and the Central Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, sent notice regarding a proposal to expand the current aquifer exemption designation for the Dollie sands of the Pismo formation in the Arroyo Grande oil field (in unincorporated San Luis Obispo county near the intersection of Ormonde Road and Price Canyon Road). Subject to approval by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the proposed aquifer exemption would allow the State, in compliance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, to approve Class II injection into the identified area, either for enhanced oil recovery or for injection disposal of fluids associated with oil and gas production.

Hearing Information:

San Luis Obispo September 21, 2015 4pm-7pm
Courtyard Marriot
1605 Calle Joaquin Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93405

Documents related to the Aquifer Exemption proposal, and information regarding how to submit comments can be found on DOGGR's website.


Groundwater Monitoring in Areas of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation

State Water Board developed and adopted Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring in areas of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation (Model Criteria) as part of the added requirements by Senate Bill 4 (statues of 2013) to the Water Code, section 10783.

The Model Criteria has three main components:

  1. Area- Specific required groundwater monitoring near stimulation wells by operators
  2. Requirements for Designated Contractor Sampling and Testing
  3. Regional scale groundwater monitoring to be implemented by the State Water Board

In 2015, to satisfy one of the provisions of SB 4, State Water Board and Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) formed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to delineate the agencies respective authority, responsibilities, and notification and reporting requirements associated with well stimulation treatments and well stimulation treatment-related activities, including water quality monitoring.

FACT SHEET: Model Criteria for Groundwater Monitoring in Areas of Oil and Gas Well Stimulation – (en Español)

Groundwater Monitoring Prior to July 1, 2015

In late 2013, State Water Board and DOGGR developed Emergency Interim Regulations which included Interim groundwater monitoring requirements. Effective January 1, 2014, well operators were required to submit either an approved groundwater monitoring plan or a letter from the State Water Board staff concurring that there is no protected water to monitor for their well stimulation permit. Operators who received well stimulation permits prior to July 1, 2015, shall follow the Emergency Interim Regulations to comply with the groundwater monitoring requirements for those stimulated wells.

Information regarding the electronic submittal of water quality data related to property owner requested water sampling is included in our Getting Started guide.


Oil Field Produced Water

Produced water is brought to the surface during oil and gas production activities, and it is composed of different constituents including oil and gas. Produced water can be disposed of in either class II injection wells, produced water ponds, or is recycled. Class II injection wells include enhanced oil recovery (EOR) wells, and disposal wells. Class II injection wells are permitted through DOGGR and produced water ponds are permitted though the Regional Water Quality Control Boards.

Contact Information

envelope   Receive updates by email oil and gas related activities, subscribe to our Oil and Gas Groundwater Monitoring (SB4) email list, located in the "Water Quality Topics" category.

Questions or Comments? Please contact us at OilandGas@waterboards.ca.gov or (916) 323-1308.


(Updated 9/3/15)