Morgan County Quality Water District source water protection plan

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Here’s a update on the source water protection plan proposed by Brush and the Morgan County Quality Water District, from Dan Barker writing for The Fort Morgan Times. From the article:

Stakeholders for the city of Brush and the Morgan County Quality Water District set some boundaries Wednesday around local aquifers which will be protected and watched for any sign of contaminants which could get into the water table, said Colleen Williams, source water specialist for Colorado Rural Water. Those included aquifers under the Krause Well Field in Weld County near Morgan County, the Weingardt Well Field in the eastern part of Morgan County and the Smart Well Field in the western part of the county, she said. Brush and Quality Water both have wells in the Smart Well Field, and Quaity Water in the other well fields.

This was the third in a series of meetings designed to set up those boundaries and set limits on what can happen above and near aquifers, she said. This process began when the Environmental Protection Agency asked states to look at where people get their drinking water and to plan to keep it clean under the Safe Drinking Water Act, she said. Wednesday’s Quality Water meeting was focused on what concerns the area may have about possible sources of contaminants to water supplies. A big concern is how well the operators of oil and natural gas wells do in making sure that oil and brackish water from oil wells are controlled, Williams said. At one site in the Krause Well Field, she found oil on the ground near a sealed and abandoned oil well, and wondered if it was leaking, she said…

A big concern is how well the operators of oil and natural gas wells do in making sure that oil and brackish water from oil wells are controlled, Williams said…

Other sources of contamination could be agricultural chemical use, spills due to the crash or overturn of trucks carrying hazardous materials, hazardous waste facilities, residential practices and livestock production.

Most of those are not a problem in the sandy dunes which surround the aquifers in the Morgan County areas, Kokes said. Livestock does not like the area, nor do developers, and it is not good farm land, he said…

The source water project wants to set up barriers to contamination, but often the best barrier is education, Williams said. People need to know not to let contaminants like chemicals soak into the ground, and that alone will be a preventive measure, she said. Voluntary measures to promote management practices to protect and enhance drinking water are best, Williams said. The idea is to engage the community members as stewards of the water sources. Individuals need to take personal responsibility, she said. What water managers need is a tool to educate the public and their various boards, said Don Marymee, water foreman for Brush. It is important to draw boundary lines to help in management, because the areas where contaminants could affect the groundwater supply are larger than most people think, Kokes said. “This kind of dialogue helps,” he said.

More Coyote Gulch coverage here.

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