In the state of California, where fresh water has been a topic of sharp discussion for many years, billions of gallons of wastewater are dumped annually.
In 2019 nearly 100 billion gallons of wastewater was produced in the state of California from oil drilling and fracking activity. This wastewater is contaminated with many hazardous chemicals and heavy metals, and is currently pumped right back into the freshwater table - most often by way of unlined ponds.
This number breaks down to about 18 barrels of wastewater for every barrel of oil produced. That is more than twice the wastewater to oil ratio of a decade ago, mostly due to the fact that the most productive wells have been exhausted.
For a state like California, where water is often scarce and the water table has been depleted, It would be wise to reduce the exposure of contaminated water into fresh water sources. Regardless of drought conditions, when contaminated water makes its way into fresh water basins, all of the water becomes contaminated. There is no easy way to reverse that once it happens.