Disposal facility misses mandate, stays shut

Despite several pleas for economic relief, Black Mountain Disposal Inc. will remain closed until at least next year.

On Sept. 16, Black Mountain — a facility that disposes of drilling fluid from the oil and gas industry in evaporation ponds south of De Beque on 45 1/2 Road — was closed by the Mesa County
Commission when it suspended the company’s conditional-use permits and certificate of designation.

The disposal facility was given 30 days to supply the county with information regarding a spill in 2001 and come up with a plan to clean the spill. To date it has not done that, according to the county.

What Black Mountain has done, through consultant John R. Watt Jr., is send the county a three-page letter complaining that Black Mountain’s owners, Elaine Wells and Jeff Pratt, are suffering economically.

Watt states in the letter, dated Oct. 16, that the county’s actions have “seriously crippled the owners and operators of the facility financially.”

Watt also complains that Black Mountain, which was exceeding its state air quality permits at one point prior to closing, has not gotten new air quality permits from the state. The upgraded state permits would allow Black Mountain to accept more wastewater.

“The fact that the facility has had to recycle production water well below its capacity has severely limited its income and curtailed the financial capabilities of this business,” Watt wrote.

In closing the letter, he asked the county to reinstate Black Mountain Oct. 20.

His request was denied in a letter from Mesa County Administrator Jon Peacock, dated Oct. 17.

“Black Mountain has not accomplished many of the requirements which had to be met,” Peacock wrote in response.

He goes on to point out that no remediation plan has been proposed by Black Mountain or approved by the county, and a key well on Black Mountain’s property has not been approved for use as a monitoring well.

Peacock concludes saying the county commission will schedule a public hearing before it decides to either reinstate Black Mountain or subject it to further conditions.

The County Commission affirmed Peacock’s position Monday when it unanimously passed another resolution suspending Black Mountain’s conditional-use permits and certificate of designation.


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