There was little new to report at the last meeting of the Pavillion Water Working Group held in Riverton; The governor’s office, however, said Friday that a grant from Encana would be used to pay for water deliveries to those residents who are having cisterns installed. (Ernie Over photo)
(Pavillion, Wyo.) – Governor Matt Mead’s office reported that he continues to work with residents who live outside the town of Pavillion to ensure they have access to safe and reliable drinking water. The State has put forward $750,000 to install cisterns for residents who live in the East Pavillion Gas Field. The State of Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are investigating potential causes of domestic water well contamination in the area.
The Governor’s Natural Resource Police Advisor, Jerimiah Rieman, updated affected well users at a meeting at the Wind River Schools Friday evening. The first 19 cisterns are being installed now and another 13 landowners have signed up for free cisterns. The State has also paid for a water loading station in the town of Pavillion, which is nearly complete. There is a proposal before the Legislature if additional funding is necessary to complete the cistern project in a Phase II, Reiman said.
The Town of Pavillion has determined a charge of $38.75 for 4,000 gallons. Pavillion’s water source, from a well different than those that have been impacted, has been determined to have sufficient water quality and quantity to serve the needs of those with cisterns.
In June 2013, Encana Oil and Gas (USA) Inc. made a grant to the Wyoming Natural Resource Foundation. Governor Mead has identified these funds to pay for water delivery to those with cisterns.
“In Wyoming we recognize the value of water and some of these residents have problems with their drinking water while others are dealing with perceptions about it. Either way I think it is appropriate that we use a portion of these funds to pay for delivery for years to come,” Governor Mead said.
The governor’s office is working with the on the specifics about how the funds will be used. Of the $1.5 million grant, $400,000 will go towards water delivery. Another $150,000 is going to a statewide education and awareness program through the Wyoming Association of Conservation Districts. The program will relate to best practices and permitting guidelines for the benefit of Wyoming’s citizens and industries in conjunction with initiatives that support and protect rural water supplies. Other funds are being used on the further investigation of water quality in the rural area east of Pavillion.
Residents in the area have until February 23rd to sign up for a free cistern. There will be no Phase III of this project. This next round of installations will end the cistern program.