SACRAMENTO – Today Assemblyman Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, sent a letter to the California Earthquake Authority asking them to address some questions regarding implications the Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District’s decision to use the deep well injection method might have on real estate values, earthquake insurance, and the incidence of seismic activity generally.
Below is the letter in its entirety:
“Dear Mr. Pomeroy,
The Santa Clarita Valley Sanitation District (SCVSD) is being compelled by the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Board to reduce the level of chloride it discharges into the Santa Clara River.
The Sanitation District has chosen a process of extracting the excess chloride and then “storing” that brine through deep well injection (DWI).
My constituents have questions about the implications DWI might have on real estate values, earthquake insurance, and the incidence of seismic activity generally.
On the CEA website, the sample homeowners policy under the “Definitions” section (Item 18), states, “Tectonic processes - means natural adjustments of the earth’s crust that are wholly in response to regional stress conditions caused by natural dynamic forces within the earth’s interior, and not initiated, in whole or in any part, by any human activity.”
Accordingly, I would appreciate answers to the following questions:
1. Considering the “tectonic processes only” definition regarding coverage of damages, what constitutes “human activity” and how do insurers determine “whole or in any part”?
2. Is the presence of deep well injection activities in a seismic event’s area currently considered to constitute an exclusion from coverage based on the definition of “Tectonic processes”. If so, at what distance from any seismic event is DWI no longer considered to have initiated “in any part”?
3. If the CEA is aware of a deep well injection site near a homeowner who is applying for earthquake insurance, does that fact either defeat issuance of the policy or change the premium charged?
4. Does the CEA have specific experience that they can cite relative to the questions above with other California communities where DWI is taking place?\
I thank you in advance for your efforts to answer these questions. You can reach me directly at (916) 319-2038 if you have any additional questions for me.
Assemblyman Scott Wilk
38th Assembly District”