RNI facility would have 17 ponds in first of three development phases

As a welder, Snap Morris makes his living from the energy industry, but now the energy industry is threatening to make his living difficult.

Morris, his wife, Cheryl, and his mother-in-law, Mildred Pfalzgraff, live adjacent to a stop sign on one end of V Road. The dirt road runs about 17 miles from 45 1/2 Road in De Beque to V Road’s second stop sign at Colorado Highway 330, just south of Collbran.

Midway between the two is an 800-acre site. A development proposal submitted to Mesa County calls for this land to be the new home of the Plateau Facility, an evaporative wastewater facility southeast of De Beque, about seven miles along V Road. The facility is owned by RN Industries of Roosevelt, Utah. The company’s local representative is Turnkey Consulting.

“There don’t need to be no 300 trucks a day coming up and down this road,” Snap said, referring to a traffic study done for the facility by Turnkey that is on file at Mesa County Planning and Economic Development.

Hiram Reyez, a development planner for Turnkey, said the traffic study is incorrect, that merely 15 to 30 trucks a day would travel V Road, “depending upon demand.”

Noise and dust already are kicked up by Collbran Pipeline construction workers, who have maintained the road during construction, but now that the pipeline is finished, that maintenance will end.

Cheryl Morris says the water trucks, hauling drilling fluid, can bypass their home by taking the alternate route of Highway 330 to V Road.

“It’s just not a great road,” she said. “I think they could figure something else out.”

Going another route, Reyez said, “doesn’t make any sense.”

To begin with, the switch- back coming off Highway 330 onto V Road is “very tight,” he said, and the road cuts through private property.

Additionally, the route is nearly 10 miles long, as compared to seven miles coming up from De Beque, and it runs through tougher country, he said.

“It is a matter of safety,” Reyez said.

On Sept. 10, the proposed project was delayed for 60 days, possibly more, at a hearing of the Mesa County Planning Commission. The commission delayed the project so engineers could work out access issues regarding V Road, which would be the main entrance to the site.

The commercial evaporative wastewater facility would be used by drilling companies to dispose of water that is a byproduct of drilling for oil and gas.

If approved, RNI’s plans call for the facility to be built in three phases over a period of 10 years, “or as demand requires.”

The first phase would focus on 140 acres on the northern part of RNI’s property in the 47000 block of V Road. The first phase is slated to have up to 17 synthetically lined wastewater ponds. The evaporation ponds at the facility will have double-lined synthetic liners. Eventually, RNI plans on “a landfarming area” to recycle the waste.

Turnkey worked with another company, Dalbo, not too long ago in an attempt to place a similar facility closer to De Beque off 45 1/2 Road, near Black Mountain Disposal, which also is a wastewater facility. Reyez said he heard the public outcry and says RNI’s facility should satisfy most, if not all, of the public’s concerns.

“We have done what citizens have asked,” Reyez said. “It is out away from everybody in the middle of nowhere.”


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