Storage ponds peeve residents
Post Independent Staff
Neighbors on Pete and Bill Creek southwest of Battlement Mesa voiced their frustration with EnCana over three water storage ponds at a Garfield County Commissioners hearing this week.
People living on County Road 304, which EnCana maintains for its gas production activity in the High Mesa area, complained that dust is out of control and more truck traffic will only exacerbate the problem.
Further, they complained the ponds, which will be used to recycle production water, are already under construction.
EnCana came before the county commissioners Monday to apply for a conditional-use permit for three lined water storage and evaporation ponds on three acres of property it acquired when it merged with Tom Brown Production Inc. earlier this year. Water from natural gas drilling will be stored and evaporated. Hydrocarbons will be separated from the water for reuse in the well completion process.
Scott Knox, who lives on a 150-acre ranch near the proposed pond, brought the county commissioners a photograph of the area that showed the dust in the air.
“The road carries 200 to 300 vehicles a day,” he said. The dust kicked up by the traffic hangs in the air all day long, he said.
Donny Throm, who also lives in the area, proffered a picture of the pond excavation. He was not happy about the fact that the EnCana conditional-use hearing was taking place after the pond was under construction.
“I guess you start a project and then you get permission later,” he said. “They already have approval. This is a dog and pony show.”
EnCana permitting consultant Jimmy Smith said he’d applied for and received a grading permit that allows excavation only. Smith also said the company took a risk in excavating the ponds without prior approval of the conditional use permit.
“They got the permit and went to work,” said Commissioner John Martin, who explained that with a grading permit allowed only excavation, but no further work on the ponds.
Throm said he was concerned about EnCana’s proposal to run six trucks a day up to the pond. “Who says six trucks or 60? Nobody’s gonna look or monitor it … The traffic is intense on County Road 304, which is my driveway.”
Neighbor Cecil Rasberry said he hoped the ponds would not “go septic.”
EnCana spokesman David Grisso said the company uses a chemical to prevent bacterial growth and removes the hydrocarbons, both of which control odors and prevent sepsis.
“We don’t let it get stagnant,” he said.
He also said the company would make sure magnesium chloride, a dust inhibitor, was applied more frequently on the road.
Discussion also expanded to County Road 300, which intersects with County Road 306. Road 300 also sees a lot of gas development traffic.
“You put in a double pipeline at the Una Bridge (on 300 road),” Rasberry said. “And the bridge is still tore to hell.”
Grisso said EnCana intends to pave the road beginning July 15.
After hearing comments from the public, the commissioners went on to approve the conditional permit for the ponds. However, they stipulated the ponds must be inspected by the county planning department annually to make sure they comply with all the conditions of the permit.
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