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Colorado reviewing Utah plan for facility to handle drilling waste

Published: Wednesday, June 5 2013 10:43 p.m. MDT

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — Colorado officials are reviewing a Utah company's proposal for an 800-acre oil and gas waste disposal facility southeast of De Beque.

RN Industries of Roosevelt, Utah, has proposed setting up 27 evaporation ponds to handle hundreds of thousands of gallons of fluids, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reported Tuesday.

It also could include two land farms for treating petroleum-contaminated soil so the soil can be reused, and a system that uses microbes to consume hydrocarbons to reduce volatile organic compounds enough to meet air quality standards.

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will evaluate the proposal and present its findings to Mesa County commissioners who will ultimately decide whether to approve the plan.

The county approved a conditional use permit for the first part of the project a few years ago.

Chris Chapman of RN Industries said the company is also seeking an air quality permit and trying to get approval from the federal Bureau of Land Management to widen a road so trucks can get to the site.

Chapman said the site might employ five people in its first phase and up to 15 when it is fully operating.

Bob Peterson, an environmental health specialist for the state health department in Grand Junction, said RN Industries has two facilities in Rio Blanco County in northwestern Colorado "that have been operated fairly well."

"They are a pretty well-received owner/operator," Peterson said.

A second company, Greenleaf Environmental Services of Orem, Utah, is working to reopen another disposal site south of De Beque after acquiring it from another company through bankruptcy proceedings, said Linda Dannenberger, Mesa County planning director.

Greenleaf has a county conditional use permit but it may need revisions, she said.

Charles Johnson, manager of the state health department's Solid Waste and Materials Management Program, said Greenleaf is trying to address concerns the state raised with the previous owner of the site.

Information from: The Daily Sentinel, http://www.gjsentinel.com

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