The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA or the Agency) is soliciting public comments on its proposal to issue a federal Underground Injection Control (UIC) Class I Nonhazardous Industrial Waste Disposal Well Permit to Alon Bakersfield Property Inc. (Alon or Permittee) to continue operating three (3) Active, Existing injection wells; plug and abandon one (1) currently Inactive Existing Well; and construct and operate of up to four (4) Proposed Replacement Wells. The wells are located in Section 27, Township 29 South, Range 27 East, in Kern County, California.
The UIC Class I Permit, if issued, would authorize injection of non-hazardous waste generated from the Alon Bakersfield Refinery located in Kern County, California within the limits of the City of Bakersfield, California, for a ten (10) year period. Injection will be permitted into the Santa Margarita Formation, at depths ranging between 3,500 feet and 5,500 feet below ground surface.
The facility has been permitted since 1991 by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board (CVRWQCB) under Waste Discharge Requirements (WDR) Order #91-102 as a UIC Class V well facility. In 2012, EPA consulted with the CVRWQCB and determined that, based on the status of the injection formation and the injectate constituents, the Alon injection wells would be more appropriately regulated by EPA through a UIC Class I non-hazardous injection permit instead of the existing WDR Order. EPA is the permitting authority since California is not approved to administer the UIC Class I program. Alon subsequently submitted a UIC application to EPA to reclassify the three (3) Existing Wells as Class I; plug the one (1) Inactive Existing Well; and construct up to four (4) Proposed Replacement Wells. If EPA issues a final UIC Permit to Alon, the CVRWQCB has indicated it will rescind the WDR Order. After completing a thorough technical review of all information submitted in the permit application, as well as the operational standards, monitoring requirements, and existing geologic setting, EPA believes the activities allowed under the Draft UIC Class I Permit (Draft Permit) are protective of underground sources of drinking water as required by the Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA).
EPA has made a preliminary determination to issue a UIC Class I Permit to Alon pending this public notice. This action is being taken as provided by Part C of the SDWA and pursuant to Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 124, 144, 146, and 147.
Final Permit Decision and Appeals Process
After the close of the public comment period, EPA will issue a response to comments, a final permit decision, and will notify all commenters regarding the Agency’s decision. The final decision shall be to either issue or deny the Permit. If comments are filed which request a change in the Draft Permit, the final permit decision shall become effective no sooner than thirty (30) days after the service of the notice of decision. Within thirty (30) days after the final permit decision has been issued, any person who filed comments on the Draft Permit, participated in any public hearing on this matter, or takes issue with any changes in the Draft Permit, may petition the Environmental Appeals Board (EAB) to review any condition of the permit decision. Commenters are referred to 40 CFR § 124.19 for procedural requirements of the appeal process. If no comments request a change in the Draft Permit, the Permit shall become effective immediately upon issuance.
EPA’s Fact Sheet and the Draft Permit, as well as the permit application prepared by Alon, are available on this website and for public inspection at the following locations:
Beale Memorial Library
701 Truxtun Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Information Center/Library
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105