Summit Midstream addresses Battlement Mesa pipeline concerns |

Summit Midstream addresses Battlement Mesa pipeline concerns

Water pooled in January at the site of pipeline work in Battlement Mesa.
Provided |

RIFLE — Summit Midstream assured Garfield County residents Thursday that concerns regarding its installation and management of pipeline in Battlement Mesa are being addressed.

Marc Morton, local government liaison for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and Ursa Resources Vice President of Business Development Don Simpson said they were satisfied with Summit’s quick, direct response.

In late January, a state oil and gas regulator found the work being done by Summit Midstream to prepare the pipeline had inadequate topsoil protection and poor stormwater control.

“We are addressing all those items and you can see a lot of good work out there,” Summit Midstream Construction Manager Cameron Bingham said during the Garfield Control Energy Advisory Board meeting.

Both Bingham and Brian Gardner, operations manager for Summit Midstream, spent more than an hour Thursday outlining how Summit’s pipelines are constructed, operated, inspected and maintained in a manner that safeguards the environment and the public.

“We offered our opinion of what happened at that site, and we think that the operator has been very responsive in fixing the problem and responding to our concerns,” Morton said.

Though there was not an empty seat in the room Thursday, by the end of the meeting hands that remained raised had little criticism for Summit and even praised the company’s immediate response.

“Summit and Ursa have had a lot of bad press lately and I’ve been very impressed with how they’ve handled it,” said Eleanor Nelson, a Battlement Mesa resident. They’ve immediately fixed problems that arise, working 24 hours a day to rectify the issue, she added.

“When there was going to be a lot of truck traffic, they would call us ahead of time and tell us exactly what would be going on,” she said.

Bingham and Gardner spent much of the time addressing concerns from the COGCC relating to Summit’s pipeline installation and management practices. They also informed the audience that Summit hit water flow on its second bore.

Bingham said when the company bored its first hole, it encountered some water and had to start hauling it out in trucks. In order to avoid disturbing residents, workers would only haul in the daylight hours, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

“On the second bore we changed the angle, we changed everything, and unfortunately we did encounter water again,” he said. “We do a lot of research beforehand, it’s not just hope and poke. I’ve been in this business for 18 years and this is not something you usually see.”

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