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 Non-hazardous Industrial Waste Disposal Well Permit to Live Oak Limited (Live Oak or Permittee) to continue operating one (1) injection well, known as Live Oak WD-1. The well is located in Section 18, Township 28 South, Range 28 East, in Kern County, California.
The UIC Class I Permit, if issued, would authorize injection of non-hazardous waste waters generated from the Live Oak power plant and from any of seven (7) additional power plants, all owned by Western Generation Partners Redwood Holdings, LLC in the Central Valley of California, for a ten (10) year period. Injection in Live Oak WD-1 will be permitted into the Famoso Sand, at depths ranging between 5,379 and 5,604 feet below ground surface.
Live Oak WD-1 has been permitted as a Class II injection well by the California Division of Oil, Gas, and Geothermal Resources (DOGGR) since 1991 because the Live Oak power plant provided a byproduct of steam to assist nearby oil producers in the recovery of heavy oil. However, Live Oak lost its contract to provide steam to nearby oil production operations in 2015. Given the change of steam sharing status, EPA and DOGGR agreed that Live Oak WD-1 should no longer be regulated as a UIC Class II injection well. EPA, as the permitting authority for the Class I UIC program in California, required Live Oak to seek authorization to reclassify Live Oak WD-1 as a Class I non-hazardous injection well. After completing a thorough technical review of all information submitted by Live Oak in their 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 Live Oak 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. DOGGR has indicated that once EPA makes a final determination to issue or deny the UIC Class I permit, DOGGR will revoke Live Oak's existing Class II permit.
EPA's Draft Permit, Fact Sheet, and public notice are available at the following location:
Beale Memorial Library
701 Truxtun Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93301
EPA's Draft Permit, Fact Sheet, public notice, as well as the permit application prepared by Live Oak are available online and at the following location:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Information Center/Library
75 Hawthorne Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
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 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 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.