Home near oil and gas well suddenly has discolored drinking water by Bobby Magill, May 7, 2013, The Coloradoan
Christina Herz doesn’t know exactly why her tapwater turned orange, but she says it happened while a company was working on an oil and gas well across the street. After Herz’s husband, Karl, watched Bayswater Exploration and Production begin work on its well about 1,500 feet away in Brighton’s Wadley Farms subdivision, the couple noticed their tapwater had turned yellow. Bayswater operates more than 300 oil and gas wells in Colorado and has just entered Larimer County for the first time, drilling and fracking two new wells north of Windsor. The well near the Herz home is in Adams County, and it hasn’t been fracked in several years, Bayswater Vice President Don Barbula said. The company brought a small workover rig to the well in March to conduct production testing, and that’s when the Herzes noticed a difference in their tapwater.
“The second day, it became rusty and yellow, and I said, ‘My God, what’s going on?’” Christina Herz said. “I filled the bathtub, and it was all brown.” The Herzes immediately installed a new hot water heater and replaced most of the water pipes in their home, she said. But that didn’t work. “It has destroyed, just destroyed our tubs,” Christina Herz said. The Herzes get their water from their own domestic water well, and now the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is testing the couple’s well water to find out if the contamination could have come from Bayswater’s well work. Barbula said he talked with the state oil and gas inspector investigating the contamination and there is not yet any indication that the contamination came from the company’s well. But, he said, no conclusions can be drawn until water sample test results have returned. The well has not been fracked recently, so fracking could not have caused the contamination, he said. “We’re very concerned about our neighbor out there — the adjacent landowner and the problems they are having,” Bayswater President Steve Struna said. “We’re going to work with the COGCC and do everything we can to help figure out what the issue is.” Bayswater has a relatively clean environmental track record. Despite operating more than 300 oil and gas wells in the region, the company has been subject to only one state oil and gas rules violation notice and has been involved with six small spills in Colorado. The state has never fined Bayswater for rules violations. [Emphasis added]