Disposal firm asks county to delay hearing

Black Mountain Disposal owners were no-shows for a meeting before the Mesa County Commission on Tuesday.

The owners and operators of the facility south of De Beque were supposed to come before the commission for a review of their conditional-use permits and certificates of designation.

The wastewater disposal facility, used by oil and gas drillers, had its permits suspended by the county Sept. 16 and was forced to close.

The facility had 30 days to respond with a report detailing what spilled from a holding pond in 2001 and how it would be cleaned up. A consultant, instead, wrote a letter on behalf of
Black Mountain’s owners, Elaine Wells and Jeff Pratt, telling of the financial woes they have incurred as a result of the closure.

The hearing was continued for up to 60 days.

Commissioner Craig Meis expressed some frustration about how the Black Mountain saga was playing out.

“There’s a lot of responsibility for this that goes around,” Meis said. “If it wasn’t for the questions we have asked as a board they would still be operating as it has in the past.”

Regulating evaporative-wastewater facilities such as Black Mountain is the responsibility of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. County commissioners contend the state failed to hold Black Mountain accountable by allowing the facility to continue operating for nearly eight years without addressing the spill.

The state has begun legal proceedings against Black Mountain.

“There is a preliminary injunction hearing in Mesa County March 17 and 18,” said Jeannine Natterman, spokeswoman for CDPHE.


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