An oil and gas company’s activities at the still-producing Stamp Well northwest of Union Reservoir do not appear to have violated a Longmont agreement with the company, city staff told City Council on Tuesday night.
City Environmental Services air quality and oil and gas coordinator Jane Turner said a number of Longmont residents had expressed concerns about work they’d seen or heard about going on at the well, and equipment observed there, between July 2019 and this past March.
Turner told Council that TOP Operating was doing work-overs at the well, , activities that she said did not include fracking, the process of injecting sand, water and chemicals to free up deep underground oil and gas deposits.
Turner told Council that after checking with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Phil Barber, the lawyer Longmont pays to be its special counsel on oil and gas issues, city staff’s understanding is that those Stamp Well activities have been “in accordance with” state regulations and the terms of the 2018 agreement Longmont reached with TOP Operating and Cub Creek Energy.
That agreement, approved by City Council in May 2018, will eventually end oil and gas drilling from the surfaces of properties within the city, as well as city-owned properties east of Longmont.
City officials have said the Stamp Well was originally drilled in 1983, and Turner said in a Wednesday interview that there’s been no fracking there since 2009.
The Stamp Well is on city-owned property, and Deputy City Manager Dale Rademacher confirmed Tuesday — after Councilman Tim Waters said he was trying to recall the well’s future under the 2018 pact — that it will eventually be plugged and abandoned after Cub Creek begins drilling wells on private property that lies north of Union Reservoir but is outside the boundaries of the oil and gas companies’ agreement with Longmont.
Turner also updated Council about the status of cleanup and remediation activities at the Stamp Well after TOP Operating found contaminated soil at the well site following this past May’s discovery of a leaking water tank at the facility.
TOP Operating has removed the water tank and the produced water the 100-barrel fiberglass tank had contained, and the contaminated soil has been excavated, hauled away and replaced with clean soil, Turner said.
“There’s no threat to the residents that we’re aware of,” she said, from the leak, the soil contamination, or the soil’s removal and replacement.
There already were three water wells on the Stamp oil well site that have been monitored for possible leaks or spills into the groundwater beneath the surface, and none have shown such pollutants, Turner said.
She said TOP will install another water monitoring well there.
The company is supposed to make its next clean-up and remediation follow-up report to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission by Aug. 7, she said.
Asked by Councilwoman Joan Peck how much soil was contaminated, Turner said she did not know but expected that to be in TOP’s August report to the state, which she said will be publicly posted on the state agency’s website.
Peck also asked where the remaining water in the leaking tank had been hauled to. On Wednesday, Turner said she had determined that it had been taken to a state-approved disposal location.
Council also got a Tuesday night report from research scientist Detlev Helmig about the air quality monitoring program that Helmig’s company, Boulder Atmosphere Innovation Research LLC, has been conducting under its contract with the city.
Boulder A.I.R.’s current Longmont air quality monitoring contract expires Aug. 31
Helmig’s company has been sampling and analyzing atmospheric emissions and possible pollutants from oil and gas operations near the city at two stations, one at Union Reservoir and one at Vance Brand Municipal Airport. City staff said it expects to bring Council a proposed one-year contract renewal item for Council consideration in late August or early September.