The USGS has long established a strong link between wastewater injection and earthquakes in many states that previously had practically no seismic activity (i.e., Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana). However, this cause-effect analysis was much more difficult in California due to its many faults and history of natural earthquakes, thus making it much more difficult to separate out the “human induced” earthquakes from wastewater injection. This article points to “swarms” of earthquake activity around areas of California that occurred immediately after high levels of wastewater injection (mainly from the oil/gas “produced water”) occurred. ECOVAP is proud to have already had a significant impact on reducing the seismicity (and underground aquifer contamination, not covered in this article) risk as our second largest installation is located in Southern California, allowing our company to reduce the trucking and wastewater disposal volumes of a large mine by over 95% (see Case Studies - Mining).
Wastewater disposal and earthquake swarm activity at the southern end of the Central Valley, California