County OKs facility for oil wastewater

A Grand Junction business that was initially turned away in its plan to treat and dispose of oil and gas wastewater south of Whitewater won approval the second time around Tuesday after reducing the scope of its proposal to try to minimize impacts on residents and the environment.

Mesa County commissioners unanimously agreed to a conditional-use permit amendment that allows Goodwin Septic Tank Service to expand the services it offers at its 96-acre solid-waste-disposal facility at 5180 U.S. Highway 50.

“Certainly this application and this project demonstrate a much different level of protection than what we saw previously,” Commissioner Craig Meis said.

Goodwin and oil and gas company TC Operating LLC originally applied to build 10, double-lined ponds equipped with a leak-detection system to evaporate produced water and inject the remaining brine into an underground well.

Commissioners rejected that plan three months ago, contending the ponds would have been too close to Deer Creek, which drains into the Gunnison River.

Goodwin revamped its application by reducing the number of ponds from 10 to two and the pond surface area from 22 acres to six acres.

It will construct a berm that will be 10 feet high in some places to try to mitigate noise and screen the operation, and it will move an access road farther away from a home being built in the area.

Mark Austin, a civil engineer representing Goodwin, noted the company will build a 3-foot berm on the north side of the site to prevent wastewater from running into Deer Creek.

But Thomas Panter, who is in the process of building a yurt on 80 acres he and his wife purchased 18 years ago, said Goodwin won’t be able to lessen the impacts enough.

The Panters’ yurt will be less than a half-mile away from the nearest evaporation pond.

“We don’t want to see them out of business. We just want to see their business away from our neighborhood,” Thomas Panter said.


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