U.S. Water News Online
GILLETTE, Wyo. -- The city's public works director said
reinjecting coal bed methane groundwater into the Fort Union aquifer
would help offset daily losses from the underground reservoir, which
has dropped more than 300 feet in recent years.
The Wyoming Water Development Commission has recommended studying
the possibility of putting water discharged from methane wells into
the Fort Union aquifer, one of three sources for Gillette's drinking
water. The quality would be monitored to determine if it can be used
for drinking water.
The project, subject to rigorous state and federal regulation,
could involve five to 25 wells producing 52,000 to 260,000 gallons of
water per day.
Public Works Director Bill Carson said reinjection would benefit
city residents and those in city improvement service districts, whose
water systems also tap the Fort Union supply.
Mike Besson, director of the Water Development Commission, said
that as Gillette's population grows, it won't be able to maintain its
current mixture of water from its three sources -- the Fort Union
sands, the Fox Hills sands, and the Madison limestone formation.
Blending the water allows the city to temper the hardness of water
coming from the Madison formation.
Without more water in the Fort Union aquifer, blending could only
be done on a limited basis, and while the water would still meet all
federal and state standards, it would not be up to the quality people
have become accustomed to, he said.
If approved by the 2002 Legislature as part of a broad water
project bill, the project would receive $510,000 in state funding to
cover the cost of one reinjection well, two monitoring wells, a
disinfection system, day-to-day operations for a year, and a final
report on the feasibility of the project.
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