There’s a new Associated Press article called “Exploding wells: Colo. county sits atop natural gas bonanza, awaits outcome of methane mystery.”  It seems a family’s water well exploded and shot flames 30 feet into the air.

The local gas drilling outfit

says it’s not clear the drilling caused the methane leaks or prompted other area water wells to run dry.

But they apparently have proposed steps to try and mitigate the problem (results of these efforts are to be determined).

Interestingly, the driller has a permit to discharge up to 8 million gallons a day of water (from the subsurface to relieve pressure to let the gas out) into a Colorado river. But now, the article notes the company

will have to build a water treatment plant before it gets a new permit to discharge water.

Interestingly, the firm paid for soil tests at a farm experiencing low land productivity using river water downstream from the discharge, but what’s missing from the article is mention of whether water quality testing was done, and what the results are, if any.  One is left to wonder if the company is just taking half-measures (avoiding data that could leave them liable), if they are not doing careful evaluations of discharge and river water quality, in addition to evaluating the soils.

These folks would do well to keep careful scrutiny over the whole process of developing and permitting this water treatment plant.   A lot of good information, including details about water quality, should be available as part of the permitting process.  This water treatment plant will, after all, still have a discharge.  The impacted people should be gearing up to do a core dump of this information (as discussed here with respect to the Marcellus shale), and start digging into it.


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