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Petroglyph requests augmentation water

by Larry Patrick

WALSENBURG- Petroglyph presented a proposal to the Walsenburg Finance Committee Monday night to purchase five acre-feet of water for possible augmentation in future years.  The water would never leave its source but affect the amount of water the city has rights to in a given year.

    City councilwoman Erin Jerant asked Petroglyph representative Paul Powell, “You want the City to partner with you when so many people are against your company?  There will be sentiment against Walsenburg and local businesses.”  Powell noted that his company has worked hard to improve public relations.  Petroglyph gave $75,000 last year, upon request from the City, so that the City could fund a raw water line study.  The state is mandating the City replace those lines west of Walsenburg.

    Powell noted that his company has had its problems with methane gas filtering into water wells of residents at River Ridge and other locations west of Walsenburg in past years.  They have been working on cleanup and things are looking much better with the recovery/injection system now being used in that area.  Petroglyph’s goal is to pump water from aquifers in the shallow Poison Canyon Formation, remove methane and reinject the water back into the aquifers.  They have installed a closed-loop methane removal system.  The system has been operating as planned for over a year.  The company hopes to move to Phase II soon. That would include adding up to 42,000 gallons of additional water per day from the Vermejo Formation to replenish the aquifers and create a barrier to methane migration.  All injected water will be treated to exceed EPA drinking water standards. 

    City Councilman Dave Mockmore said Petroglyph isn’t asking the City to partner with his firm, he’s asking for a simple business deal on purchasing water, like others have in the past.

    The City isn’t interested in selling water but has leased water to interested buyers in past years. Powell offered two options for the City to consider and said the price or other concerns the City may have are negotiable.