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EPA Allowing Oil Companies to Inject Drilling and Fracking Waste Into Aquifers Below Northern Colorado

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Environment and Climate Resource Center page and our Food Safety Research Center page.

Energy companies are being allowed to pollute drinking water aquifers with oil and gas drilling and fracking waste in Northern Colorado and Denver.

Over the past 13 years, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has exempted only the oil and gas industry from the federal Safe Drinking Water Act to allow the disposal of waste brine and hydrocarbon-containing fluids into drinking water aquifers deep underground.

The injections are occurring east of Fort Collins in northern Weld County, including one directly beneath an animal sanctuary, a Coloradoan investigation shows.

The law requires applicants for the exemptions to prove that aquifers can't be used for drinking because the water is so deep underground that it's too expensive or too impractical to ever be tapped.

But Colorado water experts say you can never say never.

State water planners say it's possible - but extremely expensive - to reach that drinking water today, but they warn that they can't discount the possibility the water will become scarce and valuable enough here that Colorado may one day need to look for it deep underground.


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