Fracked oil well in Shafter under investigation

The Central Valley Water Board says Vintage Production Company may have illegally dumped waste into the ground while fracking that oil well. While the well is the only one under scrutiny right now residents said they've seen this same thing happen at dozens of wells in the Shafter area.

The Central Valley Water Board says Vintage Production Company may have illegally dumped waste into the ground while fracking that oil well. While the well is the only one under scrutiny right now residents said they've seen this same thing happen at dozens of wells in the Shafter area.

"First this black liquid is coming out then this white liquid is coming out," said Tom Frantz, an almond farmer in Shafter of what he saw at a well being fracked.

Frantz didn't think others would believe what he was witnessing so he started filming.

"I always have my camera with me so I started to film from the side you know," said Frantz.

This is the video he took, video we showed you in February during a 17 News investigation of the common but controversial practice of oil fracking.This well is just east of Shafter owned by Vintage Production Company and it was being hydraulically fracked.

Fracking pumps water and chemicals at high pressure into the ground to break up rock formations deep below the surface. This allows oil to flow. It's a process that's been practiced in Kern county for 50 years.

The practice Frantz has a problem with is the discharge he worries is seeping from the unlined pit into the ground water.

"If I don't have clean ground water I can't grow these almonds. I can't use the water if it's contaminated because it will poison the trees next," said Frantz.

So he sent this video to the California Environmental Protection Agency which gave it to the Central Valley Water Quality Control Board which is now investigating the well.

"We're concerned because we saw activity that could cause water quality issues," said Clay Rodgers, Assistant Executive Officer for the California Water Regional Water Quality Control Board for the Central Valley.

The board said production waste water from fracking is supposed to be stored into portable units and then injected deep into the ground, well below the water table.

"If it's just water that's not illegal if it's water but it doesn't look like just water," said Rodgers.

Frantz hopes that while the board looks at this well it looks at others around Shafter.

"They can talk to other nearby residents who live around some of these things and they'll tell you that they've seen exactly the same thing go on many times the last few years," said Rodgers.

Vintage Production, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum Corporation released a statement saying they are looking into the matter and will fully cooperate with the California Regional Water Quality Control Board.

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