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Locating and protecting underground sources of drinking water is a critical part of addressing the long-term drinking water needs of communities across the country. It is an equally important aspect of siting oil and gas injection wells, in order to avoid potential contamination of these water sources. Oil and gas operators who are dependent on the injection of wastewater and other fluids underground must know the location and depth of current or future sources of drinking water in order comply with federal regulations. However, this is not always the case.
New research shows that the Oklahoma Corporation Commission (OCC) may have permitted oil and gas wells to inject into potential underground sources of drinking water that are supposed to be protected by federal law and off limits to fossil fuel activities.