October 4, 2010 - July 9, 2010 TWG Summary - Daniel O. Niemela
July 9, 2010
TWG Meeting Recap
Beaver Run Resort - Breckenridge, CO
Next TWG Meeting:
10:00 AM, September 24, 2010
Location: Basement Conference Room A, 333 West Hampden Ave., Englewood, CO
The DWR has hired four new full time engineers in the Denver office. The State remains in a budget crunch. There were approximately 5000 produced water well permit applications in the past fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).
Well Inspector Program
Currently, there are two well inspectors in the state and Nolan Lloyd, Chief Well Inspector. The well inspection program is currently underfunded and understaffed. Half of the inspection program is funded by $40 from each well permit fee and the other half of the program is funded by the general fund. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources has not expressed interest in supporting an increase in well permit fees for the well inspection program. There was general discussion regarding increasing the well inspector program portion of the permit fee from $40 to $80. Scott Cuthbertson and Dick Wolfe would reportedly publically support a legislative proposal to increase the well permit fee for the well inspection program, but the DWR will not independently propose such legislation. There was discussion about whether Senator Bruce Whitehead (a former Division Engineer) or Representative Fischer would support such legislation. There was discussion about whether the CWWCA would consider proposing such legislation.
Water Well Construction Rules Update
The National Ground Water Association (NGWA) is preparing to release national well construction standards in August or September 2010. These standards were reported to be significantly stricter than Coloradoís Water Well Construction Rules. Jack Byers and Dave McElhaney have had additional discussions regarding review of the Colorado Water Well Construction Rules. The DWR could currently dedicate staff to review of the rules, but the DWR does not have adequate budget to engage the Attorney Generalís Office in the process. For a formal hearing process to modify the Rules, two staff members from the Attorney Generalís office would be needed. The current status of Rules review is that informal discussions will continue. A specific example of failure of the current rules to protect public safety would result in action.
It was discussed whether the BOE could modify the Water Well Construction Rules through BOE Policy. It was concluded that the BOE only has the authority to issue BOE Policy to clarify State statute.
It was suggested that the CWWCA should provide a copy of the NGWA standards to the DWR and BOE for discussion.
The NGWA has lead a discussion of national problems with improperly constructed geothermal wells and is preparing a certification program for geothermal well drillers. Nebraska has completed a study of grouting methods, including geothermal applications. It was discussed whether the CWWCA should send the NGWA geothermal well construction information to the DWR and SEO.
The BOE has approved the voluntary CWWCA apprenticeship program. The primary objective of the program is to provide documentation to individuals seeking licensure. The program was formally introduced at the CWWCA membership meeting.
The NGWA contacted CWWCA regarding federal legislation regarding hydraulic fracturing "Frac Act." The Frac Act eliminates an exemption to the safe drinking water act for hydraulic fracturing. The NGWA successfully lobbied to include an exemption from the Frac Act for water well construction. The DWR requires a specific license for water well hydraulic fracturing.
The following topics were suggested for future continuing education classes:
Grouting: Types and placement, Nebraska study
Rules and Regulations
Round table discussions regarding geology and hydrogeology in different parts of Colorado
DWR Budget Update (brief)
Well Construction Rules Update (brief)
CWWCA Apprenticeship Program
Geothermal: Examples of Specific Problems
Follow-up regarding CWWCA CE classes needed for Annual
Hydraulic Fracturing (if needed)
Colorado Ground Water Association coordination with CWWCA for presentations
Permits for cisterns
Respectfully submitted by Daniel Niemela.