Weld County will test resident’s water wells for oil and gas contamination free of charge

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From The Greeley Tribune (Analisa Romano):

The county’s new Federal Mineral Lease Board, comprised of Weld Commissioner David Long and two members in the oil and gas industry, granted the money to commissioners to purchase the gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer instrument for an estimated $145,000. While the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission does similar testing for well water contamination, Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said the availability of the instrument gives residents “another layer of security” as the industry continues to expand in Weld…

[Trevor Jiricek, Weld’s director of planning] said the gas spectrometer will detect compounds normally found in petroleum. After testing to see whether the water shows sign of oil and gas activity, residents must pay for any additional analysis, Jiricek said. The money used to buy the instrument didn’t come from Weld taxpayers, said Long — it’s federal money granted to the county for oil and gas production on public lands, primarily the Pawnee National Grassland. Weld commissioners just approved the new Federal Mineral Lease Board last fall, which independently decides how to spend the revenue, he said. So this is the first year the board can allocate the money to entities that hope to offset some of the industry’s impacts…

[Weld Commissioner David Long] said the new instrument will also be able to establish a baseline for well water in the area, so that when oil and gas activity does increase, the county will have a better idea of the industry’s impact. “That’s kind of the recommendation across the nation,” said Mark Thomas, a chemist with the Weld Department of Public Health and Environment, of testing water before and after activity. Thomas said he doesn’t expect any samples that will test positive for hydraulic fracturing chemicals.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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