The Supervisor of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Grant Black, talked with East Pavillion landowners Catherine Fenton and Allen Hafer after a meeting in Riverton last month on the state’s investigation into water well contamination in the area. (Ernie Over photo)
(Cheyenne, Wyo.) – Governor Matt Mead thanked all of the individuals, companies and groups that provided input on Wyoming’s baseline water testing rule. The Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission published the draft rule today and will take public comments until October 7. The rule requires oil and gas operators to test existing water sources before and after drilling an oil or gas well.
“This proposal to require baseline water testing strikes the right balance for Wyoming. It supports a robust energy sector and it enhances our protection of groundwater – an important natural resource,” Governor Mead said. “This required people from industry, environmental groups and landowners to work together. I thank them and believe we have come up with a plan that will be a model policy.”
Landowners must give consent for operators to sample the permitted or adjudicated water sources. These sources include domestic, stock, industrial, irrigation, municipal or other permitted uses of water. The sampling would occur before a well is drilled and after production begins. Those results would not create a presumption of or against liability or fault. Liability is determined by an investigation and or a court of law.
A public meeting on the rule will take place on October 15th in Casper.
The new rule was sparked by the lack of groundwater baseline testing east of Pavillion where a number of water wells are contaminated. A state-directed review of data from an Environmental Protection Agency investigation into the cause of that contamination is on going.
On Sept. 17th, a Tuesday, Governor Matt Mead’s Natural Resource Policy Advisor Jerimiah Rieman will return to Pavillion with a follow-up report on a water delivery system for landowners east of town who will be getting cisterns for potable water use. That meeting is set for the Middle/High School Library.