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State proposes an expanded area for oil injection wells in San Luis Obispo County

The State of California wants to expand an area approved for oil industry injection wells in San Luis Obispo County.

The injection process requires pumping a salty solution into the ground and can contain toxic metals and radioactive substances according to the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The state is proposing an aquifer exemption for an area along Price Canyon Road, about half way between Pismo Beach and Highway 227. State Oil and Gas Supervisor Steve Bohlen says this proposal is to correct an ongoing condition at the Arroyo Grande Oil Fields.

"The oil field has over the years expanded into areas that, as it turns out, weren't exempt," said Bohlen. "So, we're in the process of—as part of our compliance schedule with the EPA to get the state back into compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act."

Bohlen said the oil operations for this area are conducted by Freeport McMoran Oil and Gas. He said the aquifer under the fields is self contained and does not mix with groundwater in surrounding areas.

The public has until Sept. 21, 2015 at 8 p.m. to comment.