Company starts recycling ‘produced water’ |

Company starts recycling ‘produced water’

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

A relatively new process designed to recycle “produced water” from gas drilling operations is about to get started in Garfield County.

The Greenback Produced Water Recovery LLC will be building what is technically termed a “solid waste disposal site and facility” on a 40-acre property known locally as the Shaeffer Ranch, about four miles south of Interstate 70, southeast of Rifle.

The facility, according to documents on file with Garfield County, will “treat, store and reuse produced water from oil and gas operations.”

The facility will occupy about 11 acres of the larger parcel.

According to Dan Packard, one of the company’s representatives, produced water will be trucked to the facility from well pads throughout the region, where it will be filtered, separated from any remaining oil and gas, clarified and “air stripped.”

It can then be put into the same tanker trucks that brought the water to the facility in the first place, and taken back to the drilling pads for reuse.

Any solids left over from the procedure are routed into a “filter box” that is taken to a landfill certified to handle such substances and disposed of, Packard told the board.

The fluids will be stored in three lined pits to begin with, and plans call for construction of three more pits at some point in the future.

Packard said that, once treated, the water is suitable for use in toilets and for hand-washing, and that it will be put to those uses at the facility itself.

Water is to be hauled in for consumption by the workers at the facility, he said, and in using the recycled produced water for certain functions, “It was our intent to be self-sustaining.”

Packard told the Board of County Commissioners that this is the company’s first project. He said the company was formed three years ago, and noted that other facilities of its type can be found in neighboring states.

Commissioner Tresi Houpt, while generally supportive of the project, questioned whether the amount of traffic might be disruptive to the neighbors living nearby.

“It seems to me that the traffic … has been downplayed,” she remarked, noting that the company’s application did not contain a formal traffic study and that some of the routes mentioned in the application pass through residential neighborhoods.

“That’s a concern to me,” she said.

Although Packard and other company representatives assured Houpt that their operations would generate a maximum of 50 truck trips per day, she pointed out that the application did not limit the traffic to that amount.

Before approving the facility, the commissioners agreed to impose a maximum traffic count of 50 trucks per day, averaged over a month’s time.

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