by Edi Sheldon
HUERFANO- Petroglyph Energy has reached a settlement agreement in each of two lawsuits filed against them by the residents of the River Ridge subdivision. Although the terms of the settlements were unavailable, the complaints involved claims of damages allegedly resulting from methane gas seepage into water wells, outbuildings, and in some instances, homes of the River Ridge property owners.
Some property owners in River Ridge purchased home sites located atop old coal mines. Petroglyph leased the mineral rights on some of this land to drill for and extract deposits of methane gas, a byproduct of the coal and its continual decaying process. Residents became alarmed when evidence of methane was detected in water wells. One property owner suffered an explosion of an outbuilding on the property after drilling by Petroglyph had begun. Successive meetings were held to attempt to find answers for the damages to property owners’ water and buildings.
State regulatory agencies, Colorado Legislators, and National Congressional and Senate Representatives have been involved in the issues surrounding the River Ridge problems, and as of this date the remedies are still somewhat unsatisfactory. Although the City of Walsenburg did extend the use of their water haul privileges to the residents of River Ridge, Petroglyph is still working on a replacement plan for water in the aquifer from which the property owners draw.