EnCana pond worries Grass Mesa residents
Skeptical neighbors on Grass Mesa, where EnCana says a new water storage pond will cut down on traffic, took their worries to the Garfield County Commissioners Monday.EnCana won approval from the commissioners to store treated water from drilled gas wells in the pond. The water will be recycled in drilling other wells.Garland Anderson, who lives on Grass Mesa south of Rifle, said when EnCana originally came to the homeowners with the idea, the water would be drawn from the Colorado River.”They touted it that it would be used for fire (fighting). We agreed to allow it. But things have changed,” he said.Anderson said he worries the plant that treats the water on Hunter Mesa could break down and send untreated, polluted water to the pond. And there’s always the possibility the lined pond could breech and water could leak into neighbors’ wells.Although EnCana assured the commissioners the pond liner was good for 20 years, Anderson was skeptical.”If everything goes right, which we haven’t experienced yet,” he said. Equipment could break down or people could make mistakes, he added.Residents of Grass Mesa have battled EnCana over domestic well contamination and are generally frustrated over truck traffic and noise.Commissioner Larry McCown agreed with the Grass Mesa residents.”I don’t think the homeowners have the same level of confidence you do,” he said to the EnCana representatives.”I think it’s a bad news bear for them to change in mid-stream. Now they’ve broken their agreement,” Anderson said.Brett Kloss, who also lives on Grass Mesa, pointed out that although EnCana promises no more than 10 trucks a day will take water from the pond, it won’t do much to reduce overall traffic.He said he has over 200 trucks go by his driveway every day.”You know how I feel about the oil and gas industry: They get handed everything on a platter,” he said.EnCana consultant Jimmy Smith said once it’s treated, the water will be considerably cleaner than Colorado River water. The idea, he added, is to reduce the total dissolved solids, chiefly salts, in the water produced by gas wells in the area.The commissioners voted to approve an operations permit for the pond but imposed a number of conditions. They’ve required EnCana to install a groundwater monitoring well between the pond and the nearest house that will be tested periodically, among other requirements.Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. email@example.com
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