Comment to BOCC 3/16/2021

Dear Commissioners,

Something has come to my attention and I want you to know about it, if you don’t already. I was looking at the wells in Northern Larimer County while on the COGCC website and I found something very concerning. I have added the screen shots below for you. You can see the dotted black line at the border of Larimer County and Weld County and the yellow areas where Fort Collins and Wellington are located on this map. It shows many lakes and ponds located in northeast Larimer County. Many of these lakes, I believe, are used for irrigation. They’re also used by livestock and wildlife and the groundwater supports the huge cottonwoods in this area.

The next screen shot is the same location but this time I selected the “Specified Area CDPHE Regulation 42” option and this is what I saw.

The CDPHE Regulation 42 Specified Area was defined in 1999 by the Colorado Water Quality Control Commission (WQCC) and the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission (COGCC). They ruled that the ground water in this area was, in their words, “a waste” and not expected to be used in the future for domestic or agricultural purposes.  This ruling allows the exclusion of the groundwater throughout this entire area from even basic protection from pollutants associated with the exploration, development, or production of crude oil and natural gas.

According to this ruling, Tables 1- 4 of the Basic Standards for Ground Water, 41.0 do not apply for this area. Additionally, the groundwater organic chemical standards included in Table A of Section 41.5.C.3 of the Basic Standards for Ground Water (5 CCR 1002-41) for benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, and benzo(a)pyrene do not apply to oil and gas producing formations within this specified area. Then, last year during the pandemic the Water Quality Control Commission published the following ruling:

42.38 STATEMENT OF BASIS, SPECIFIC STATUTORY AUTHORITY AND PURPOSE: APRIL 13, 2020 RULEMAKING; FINAL ACTION MAY 11, 2020; EFFECTIVE DATE JUNE 30, 2020

This new ruling is the same old ruling from 1999 but in this one, the Water Quality Control Commission attempts to justify this new ruling by saying this only applies to certain geological formations in the ground and not surface water.

What this ruling did was open this entire area to be used as a dumping ground for toxic produced water that comes out of fracked wells. There is no guarantee that the produced water these companies are injecting into wells in this area are not connected to surface water somewhere. Concrete used in these wells fail often so there is a high potential for aquafers in the area to be contaminated.

Commissioners, I implore you to question these rulings and demand that this polluting of our natural resources is stopped. How can we allow these beautiful lakes, wetlands, and grassland areas to become permanently polluted with toxic hydrocarbons, radioactive materials and other harmful compounds?

Thank you so much for your time and attention.

Lori Brunswig

Fort Collins, CO

(Please see the current ruling on page 175 at the following link.)

https://www.sos.state.co.us/CCR/GenerateRulePdf.do?ruleVersionId=8815&fileName=5%20CCR%201002-42

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