Facility will treat water for reuse by gas drillers
A newly approved facility in Garfield County will recycle production water from natural gas development, reducing the amount disposed of in evaporation ponds.
“We need to take care of our own,” county Commissioner John Martin said last week in voicing support for the project, which commissioners approved 3-0. “We need to put it in place so we can take care of our problems and not burden other communities with it.”
Greenback Produced Water Recovery LLC plans to build the facility on 11 acres of a 40-acre parcel southeast of Rifle. It will allow water produced and used in operations at area wells to be cleaned to a point that energy companies can take it back out to gas fields for reuse.
Dan Packard, who co-founded the company three years ago, said this will be its first recycling plant. Through filtration and other means, it will separate solids, oils and other contaminants from the water, which will be placed in storage ponds. Some solids will be taken to landfills, some water will be cleaned by reverse osmosis to allow for surface discharge, and oils can be sold, he said.
The treated water still will have some sodium in it, but energy companies prefer that because some sodium must be added for hydraulic fracturing of wells, he said.
Packard said the facility will reduce truck traffic from the Rifle area to as far away as Utah.
True, said county Commissioner Tresi Houpt, but it will result in more trucks on some area roads. Commissioners ended up approving the facility on the condition that it doesn’t generate traffic averaging more than 50 trucks per day.
The company said some energy companies are looking at installing pipelines to the facility to reduce truck traffic.