Ursa to relocate injection well
Ursa Resources representatives told skeptical Battlement Mesa residents Thursday that they will propose relocating an injection well so it can’t pose a threat to the community’s water supply.
The meeting, one of Ursa’s regular sessions with residents, came a day after a zoning change proposed on Ursa’s behalf was withdrawn.
Thursday’s meeting lasted nearly two hours, and Ursa representatives spent nearly the entire time fielding questions from concerned residents.
A conversation that began as an outline for development ended with residents demanding to know if Ursa will leave the community in better shape than they found it.
“Do you see any benefit for the Battlement Mesa citizens from oil and gas?” asked one audience member.
Ursa owns mineral rights under the 5,000-person community and last year won Garfield County and state approval to drill for natural gas inside the Planned Unit Development. Wednesday, a request to place an injection well to dispose of wastewater within the PUD was pulled back after county staff urged rejection.
The state Department of Public Health and Environment earlier urged rejection because the well would be within about 600 feet of the municipal water intake.
The Planning Commission granted a continuance so that Battlement Mesa Partners, which requested the zoning change for Ursa’s natural gas operations, can alter its plan. The hearing was moved to the March 8 Planning Commission meeting.
“The reason for last night’s continuance is to allow us to present all of the changes we’ve made, which will allow us to move the injection well from the BMC B Pad to the BMC A Pad,” Ursa Resources Operations Superintendent Matt Honeycutt said. “We wanted to get it right, and part of that was by talking with many of you.”
Moving the injection well from the B Pad to A Pad will eliminate the threat of any runoff leaking into the Colorado River and contaminating the water supply, he said.
Instead of placing the injection well upriver from the intake, which it would be in the B Pad, Ursa will seek to place the injection well downriver at the BMC A Pad.
Furthermore, he said, shifting focus to the A Pad will eliminate the impact to the area surrounding the B Pad, which will reduce the area of the project by nearly 50 percent. Rather than rezoning 37 acres along the north end of the community by the north end of the Colorado River, the new plan will include closer to 22 acres.
The plan will still be to drill 24 wells in the BMC B Pad, but having an injection well in the community will greatly reduce truck traffic, according to Honeycutt.
Construction will begin for the B Pad on Feb. 21, the company said, with as many as 14 wells to be located there.
Now, 100 wells are in operation out of approximately 200 wells that Ursa plans to drill in Battlement Mesa, though the company has not yet begun to drill within the PUD, representatives said.
Drilling for a pipeline has begun, with 15 of 24 wells already in operation. Drilling is expected to be completed by March 23. Once the drilling is completed there, Ursa will begin drilling at the D Pad.
One resident was frustrated, asking, “Of all of this land, how come you have to do this right here?”
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