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Environment

After Human-Caused Earthquakes, Company Injecting Wastewater Cleared Of Wrongdoing

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Jim Hill
/
KUNC

A company whose oil and gas wastewater injection was linked to earthquakes in Northern Colorado did nothing wrong, according to an investigation by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

The first earthquake was felt in the Greeley area in late May 2014. Another followed on June 23, triggering an investigation by the COGCC into whether NGL Water Solutions DJ LLC violated its permit. The company was allowed to resume using the disposal well three weeks after the second earthquake, but at lower volumes and lower pressures.

The investigation cleared NGL of any wrongdoing, and the COGCC also granted their request to boost the amount of wastewater the company can inject into its well to 12,000 barrels per day.

Steve Lynn has been reporting on the story for BizWest. He found that the COGCC decision follows low-level quake activity captured by a state monitoring program.

“The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said that NGL and the University of Colorado both continue to have earthquake monitors near this injection well to monitor activity. And the oil commission said that it’s communicating with both of those entities,” Lynn said.

Hydraulic fracturing uses millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals. After extracting natural gas and oil, the wastewater is routinely pumped into injection wells to dispose of it.

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