Caerus Piceance pulls ‘pug mill’ application from county review |

Caerus Piceance pulls ‘pug mill’ application from county review

John Colson

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — A company that had proposed building a “pug mill” near Battlement Mesa to clean up contaminated soils from gas and oil production activities has withdrawn its application for the mill.

A pug mill is equipment that operates much like a cement mixer, but to clean up soils carrying contamination from oil and gas activities.

No reason was given for the withdrawal, and, according to a memo describing the company’s action on the county’s website, Caerus Piceance LLC and its planning firm, Olsson Associates, asked that “no further review or action occur at this time by the Garfield County Community Development Department.”

The withdrawal was submitted to the county on Nov. 4, according to the notice, and attempts to reach representatives of Caerus were not successful on Wednesday.

Caerus, which reportedly is active in drilling for oil and gas in Colorado and other states, recently took over the Piceance Basin assets of the Petroleum Development Corp., which submitted the original application for the pug mill on Sept. 3.

The company will have missed two scheduled Garfield County hearings on the proposal, the first on Oct. 9 and the latest set for Nov. 13. Garfield County planner Kathy Eastley said in mid-September that the Oct. 9 hearing had been rescheduled “to give Caerus representatives time to meet with residents of Battlement Mesa” to discuss the proposal.

No information was available on Wednesday concerning whether any such meetings took place.

According to application documents, the pug mill was to be set up on less than 10 acres of a 35-acre parcel of private property, owned by Metcalf Property Management. The property is split by the Colorado River, and, according to Eastley, the northern portion is about 14-15 acres in size, of which 9 acres or so would be used for the actual operation of the pug mill and its ancillary equipment.

One or more monitoring wells were proposed for the site, to detect any contamination of the site itself through contact with the contaminated soils trucked in to be cleaned.

The announcement on the website that the application has been withdrawn by Caerus does not mention whether a second site for cleaning up contaminated soils, this one about 8 miles east of Parachute on U.S. Highway 6, also was withdrawn from consideration.

Garfield County officials could not be reached for comment on Wednesday about the second remediation site.

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