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Water treatment plant for River Ridge?

by Brian Orr

WALSENBURG- At a Water Quality Control  meeting held last Thursday with the Colorado Division of Water Resources at the Walsenburg Community Center, Petroglyph Energy asked for permission to build a commercial water treatment plant out at their River Ridge property that would treat and release up to ten and a half million gallons of water a day.  This water would then be released into an arroyo, which would flow in the Cuchara River and on downstream.  This release point would be below where the City of Walsenburg pulls its water from the river.

    The water to be treated will come from Petroglyph’s dewatering efforts in its coal bed methane production in the River Ridge Ranch area, south of Highway 160 and west of Walsenburg.

    There were conflicting and confusing reports at the meeting as to who exactly would monitor and regulate the water treatment plant and the water discharged from it.  Indeed, even such questions as what temperature would the water be when discharged, or what level of salinity would it be were not answered by the group present.

    Interested citizens and affected property owners present at the meeting came away wondering how adding more water into the already complex problem of potential water pollution and methane off-gassing would help the situation.  “Why are they thinking of this, when we haven’t solved the other problems?” asked Huerfano resident Al Tucker, who has closely followed water issues.

    The last day for public comment on the Petroglyph Draft Permit with the Colorado Dept. of Public Health is June 23.  Write Erin Scott at Erin.Scott@state.co.us