Letter: Get accurate info on injection wells
Executive director, West Slope Colorado Oil & Gas Association
Fluids management. It’s a fancy phrase describing what natural gas companies do with extra water from natural gas production. Western Colorado has the most diverse and technologically complex “fluids management” system in the country. For most of recent history the No. 1 local public concern with oil and gas drilling surprisingly had nothing to do with fracking but rather was a result of traffic concerns moving water around. From dust and noise to speeding and ruts industry recognized need for improvement in this area. Among the most vocal proponents of reducing industry traffic were residents of Battlement Mesa. And for good reason.
Folks in Battlement Mesa live in close proximity to drilling operations. In addition to hugely successful water recycling programs, industry turned to water injection wells as a way to improve efficiency while addressing traffic concerns. Injection wells are specially engineered wells that put salty old water back into ancient formations from whence it came — over a mile underground. This approach to managing excess water does more than just reduce traffic. In some cases the practice has dang near eliminated traffic. In Battlement Mesa, tens of thousands of vehicle miles and industrial road use will be eliminated as a result of water recycling, water pipelines and water re: injection wells.
Red herring rhetoric has dominated newspaper reports lately about injection wells in Garfield County. For center-minded folks who want good information, Professor Rick Aster of Colorado State University recently presented information on injection wells in Rifle. Professor Aster does a wonderful job describing the real versus perceived challenges with injection wells while putting risk into a rational context.
Unfortunately, a local activist often makes comments that take Aster’s remarks remarkably out of context. So it’s highly recommended Post Independent readers take time to see the CSU presentation on injection wells in person.
The Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission is another great technical resource for people wanting to slice through fear and acquire facts about how water injection wells are permitted and approved and what protections are in place. From reuse and recycling to evaporation and re injection, producers of the Piceance Basin have called up technology to vastly reduce impacts when managing industry’s water. Of this fact we can be proud.
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