Water well expert to speak at CMC
Tony Gorody, a Houston-based water-well expert, will give three presentations at Colorado Mountain College’s Rifle Campus this week. CMC invited Gorody to Rifle after Pam Arsenault, dean of the Rifle campus, heard him speak at a Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Commission meeting in November. Gorody is an engineer, hydrologist and geologist, said Arsenault, and “has taken those three fields and put them together in a very even-handed way,” she said. The presentations are timely because of citizens’ concerns about natural gas drilling and because the oil and gas industry recently started doing baseline studies on well water in Garfield County, Gorody said in an interview from Houston. “A lot of people are getting baseline reports,” he said, but that doesn’t mean they are able to understand the 20 pages of information. Gorody said he will take a look at well-water reports from anyone who brings one.Gorody is donating his time for the trip and lectures, but after he committed to coming, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission offered to pay his expenses. “We believe it’s a valuable outreach effort that is really in everyone’s best interest,” said COGCC president Brian Macke. “It’s in our best interest, in the best interest of the county, and the best interest of the citizens of the county to understand as much as possible about their water wells and their well-water resources,” he said. The focus of the meeting will be much broader than just oil and gas, Gorody said. Gorody has looked at water-well reports from Garfield County, he said, and thinks the biggest problem is well maintenance. “Oil and gas is really such a minuscule impact,” he said. “The biggest problem I see is bacterial infection. People are losing their water well because they’re not maintaining it,” he said. “And that’s true just about anywhere.” Gorody will also speak about what water is good for what purposes. Some water is good for drinking, some good for irrigation, and some is not good for either purpose, he said. “This is information that everyone who owns a water well ought to have,” Arsenault said. Gorody has been working with water since the mid-1980s in the Rocky Mountains and in the Appalachians. He is an advisor for oil and gas regulators and producers and has a Ph.D. in geochemistry from Rice University.But folks who attend the presentations don’t need to worry about a bunch of technical jargon that would take a Ph.D. to understand. “I guess if I have a talent, it’s to explain difficult things in layman’s terms,” Gorody said.
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