Public scoping begins on Paradox Valley salinity control projects, scoping meetings announced


Here’s the release from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Terry Stroh/Justyn Hock):

Reclamation announced today that it will hold public scoping meetings concerning the Paradox Valley Salinity Control Unit, located near Bedrock, Colo. The meetings will be held 1) in Paradox, Colo. at the Paradox Community Center, 21665 6.00 Road on December 6, 2011 with a presentation at 6 p.m. and an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. and 2) in Montrose, Colo. at the Holiday Inn Express, 1391 S Townsend Ave, on December 8, with a presentation at 6 p.m., followed by a question and answer session.

Historically, the Dolores River picked up an estimated 205,000 tons of salt annually as it passed through the Paradox Valley. Since the mid-1990’s much of this salt has been collected by shallow wells and then injected into deep subsurface geologic formations. The deep well injection program has removed about 110,000 tons of salt annually from the Dolores and Colorado rivers.

The existing deep well injection facility may be approaching the end of its useful life and alternatives are being considered to continue the successful efforts to prevent salt from entering the river. One initial alternative is to collect brine from shallow wells along the Dolores River and evaporate the brine and encapsulate the produced salts in surface evaporation ponds. The Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Forum, representing the seven basin states, has recommended that an evaporation pond pilot study be conducted in order to better evaluate potential future large scale evaporation ponds as an alternative to deep well injection.

Reclamation will host public scoping meetings to discuss the pilot study. The project will be described and questions will be answered at the meetings; comments may be provided at the scoping meeting, emailed to or mailed to Bureau of Reclamation, 2764 Compass Drive, Suite 106, Grand Junction CO 81506.

More coverage from the Montrose Daily Press (Katharhynn Heidelberg):

The Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public input on whether to continue using deep-well injection methods to reduce salinity loads where the river flows through the Paradox Valley, or to consider evaporative ponds. The evap ponds are among alternatives BuRec is considering to prevent salt from entering the river, and area scoping meetings are slated in Montrose County for next month (see below for details).

More Dolores River watershed coverage here.

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