County OKs energy project near Collbran

Mesa County commissioners Tuesday signed off on an energy firm’s plans to build a natural-gas-compressor station, a water-storage pond and storage tanks north of Collbran.

The approval came over objections from four of the project’s would-be neighbors.

Axia Energy is moving forward with plans to take shape on 35 acres, approximately 1 1/2 miles north of Collbran off Kimball Creek Road.

Commissioners Janet Rowland and Steve Acquafresca voted in favor of the project. Commissioner Craig Meis was not in attendance.

The project calls for three compressors to be housed in a 4,240-square-foot, steel-frame building, moving natural gas from drilling activities located just north of the site. There will be four tanks, each with a capacity of 500 gallons, storing waste oil, condensate water and glycol.

Axia Energy plans to pipe production water from its drilling operations to an outdoor pond located near the other proposed facilities.

Jess Peonio, Axia Energy’s senior operations engineer, told commissioners the company so far has drilled four separate wells from two drill pads.

The company was approved for drilling in the area in November.

Representatives of the project spent much of Tuesday’s public hearing attempting to allay fears over excessive noise, unsightly operations and potential for contaminated groundwater, among other issues.

Four Collbran residents who spoke in opposition said they were concerned about the prospect of year-round noise from the compressor station. The area’s quiet character was a chief reason Thena Walton said she and her husband, Paul, moved there from Grand Junction.

“We pay for that every day,” said Thena Walton, who lives at 16575 Kimball Creek Road, while expressing concern about declining property values.

Peonio said Axia Energy will install a hospital-grade muffler system on the compressors. He pledged noise levels will meet state standards, which call for a maximum 55 decibels from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and 50 decibels from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. By comparison, a lawn mower generates approximately 90 decibels, he said.

The closest residence is situated 900 feet from the project.

Axia Energy’s proposal was scheduled to go before the Collbran Town Board on Tuesday evening.


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