Another fracking mess

December 26, 2013

Mesa County, oil and gas drilling

A wastewater pit somewhere south of Silt

A wastewater pit somewhere south of Silt

As you may recall on December 16, the Daily Sentinel reported that water and gas were leaking from a non-producing well in Mesa County near Debeque. Well this just keeps getting worse.

Well leak spews fluid; Is fracking to blame? [free!!!]

Authorities are still awaiting test results that could help determine the cause of a leak at a 32-year-old, nonproducing oil and gas well seven miles southwest of De Beque.

The Maralex Resources well is now producing about 100 barrels, or 4,200 gallons, of fluids a day into a containment pit, about a week and a half after the discovery of gas and fluids leaking from and around the well. Part of the leak investigation is focused on whether recent hydraulic fracturing of a nearby Black Hills Exploration & Production well could have caused the leak.

As of Tuesday, results weren’t back from water and soil tests that could confirm or rule out the presence at the leak site of frack fluids from the recent operation.

Todd Hartman, spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, said test results are expected the first week of January.

Incredible! 4200 gallons per day and they still have to ask whether the fluid is coming from a nearby recently fracked well. I wonder if any of them are familiar with the term “educated guess.”

Here’s another interesting little factoid. One disposal tanker truck holds exactly 100 barrels, or 4,200 gallons of produced water. Maybe that’s how they came up with those numbers.

Black Hills drilled a well about a mile away that by design turned horizontally underground. The company believes it came within about 400 feet of the Maralex well, which is on Bureau of Land Management land. The Black Hills well is targeting the Niobrara shale formation, whereas the Maralex well was drilled deeper to reach the Dakota sandstone formation.

BLM spokesman Chris Joyner said it’s theoretically possible the two wells are as close as 260 feet. He said that in the spring, Black Hills ran measuring tools down the Maralex well, and it headed in a direction that would place the new well about 400 feet from it. But for some reason Black Hills didn’t measure the entire length of the Maralex well, so if it happened to make a 90-degree turn beneath the measured length, the wells could be as close as 260 feet, Joyner said. That’s unlikely for what is considered to be a vertical rather than horizontal well, and the 400-foot distance is probably correct, but the BLM has to consider worst-case scenarios, he said.

An unknown amount leaked from the well before it was discovered and Maralex began diverting it into the pit, from which fluids are being removed by trucks. The BLM says no surface water impacts have occurred. The nearest surface water is the Colorado River, which is anywhere from four to six miles away as measured by the winding canyons below the spill site …

Yeah, and I’ve seen those trucks exiting off the freeway and heading out CR 311 to go pump that toxic waste into the nearest injection well south of Silt. It’s no wonder the West Divide/Wasatch aquifer is full of fracking sludge – as in “naturally occurring” fracking sludge.

… The BLM has ordered Maralex to permanently plug and abandon the well and reclaim the site. Joyner said plugging could occur as soon as the end of this week, but first the problem with the well must be identified and fixed.

“Right now we’re very actively engaged in trying to figure out what the problem is with the well,” he said.

“… It’s a very controlled situation now. We just don’t have the well killed, so to speak, and fixed” …

Be sure to read the entire article. It’s free this time. The best thing you can say about the situation is at least Dennis Webb is covering the story. Since the Parachute Creek spill, many of us have endured sleepless nights wondering what other undiscovered toxic sludge horrors are lurking beneath the surface. Well, here’s one of those.

Now just try not to think about how many non-producing drilled wells are out there …

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One Comment on “Another fracking mess”

  1. amba Says:

    Fracking… Dont have to look far abroad to see damage done and consequences seen and unforseen.

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