Public Scoping Continues on Paradox Valley Salinity Control Projects, meetings September 25, 26 and 27

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

Reclamation announced today that it will hold three public scoping meetings to solicit public input on a planning report and environmental impact statement concerning the Paradox Valley Salinity Control Unit, located near Bedrock, Colo. The meetings will be held:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. – Paradox, Colo., Paradox Valley School, 21501 6 Mile Road

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – Montrose, Colo., Holiday Inn Express, 1391 S Townsend Ave.

Thursday, September 27, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. – Grand Junction, Colo., Colorado Mesa University, Student Center, 1100 North Ave., Room 221

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 the Paradox Valley Salinity Control Unit in shallow wells along the Dolores River 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 current deep injection well is projected to reach the end of its useful life in three to five years under current operations. Reclamation is seeking public input to identify and evaluate brine disposal alternatives to replace or supplement the existing brine injection well. Initial alternatives include developing a new injection well and using evaporation ponds.

The project will be described and questions will be answered at the meetings; comments may be provided at the scoping meeting, emailed to tstroh@usbr.gov or mailed to Bureau of Reclamation, 2764 Compass Drive, Suite 106, Grand Junction CO 81506 by November 26, 2012.

More coverage from Gus Jarvis writing for The Telluride Watch. From the article:

The deep brine injection well is projected to reach the end of its useful life in three to five years under current operation, and the Bureau of Reclamation is seeking public comments to identify and evaluate brine disposal alternatives to replace or supplement the existing well. Initial alternatives include developing a new injection well or using evaporation ponds.

Installed in the mid-1990s, the Paradox Valley Salinity Control Unit has removed an estimated 110,000 tons of salt annually from the Dolores River as its waters passed through the Paradox Valley. Much of the salt is collected in shallow wells along the river and then injected deep into subsurface geologic formations.

“From our perspective, this has worked really well,” Bureau of Reclamation public relations specialist Justyn Hock said in an interview last week. “It makes a big impact in reducing the salt content in the river and improves the water quality downstream.”

Since the unit is nearing the end of its lifespan, Hock says the agency is beginning to contemplate its options on how to move forward with a similar injection unit or something completely different altogether.

“This is a unique project and we have been doing this for a while and its worked great,” she said. “Before we decide to do a new project, we are going to make sure this is still the best way to do it or find out if there is a better way. Two of the options we have right now are installing a new well or building evaporation ponds. We are open to other options if people have ideas.”

More Dolores River Watershed coverage here and here.

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