Sunday feature: As the oil companies come to Sumner County, so rises the concern for water

first_imgThe proposal…As far as Wellington is concerned, Collins has come up with a proposal.This Wednesday when the Wellington Council meets, they will discuss using “grey water,” as a water supply means for Source Energy.“What is grey water?” you may ask. That is the water that has been used by you and I whether in the laundry, or in the shower, or down the toilet that is sent to the Wastewater Treatment Plant on south Botkin.Collins said Wellington has 10 million gallons of grey water in reserve at the plant, and 1 million gallons are collected a day and discharged. His proposal is to allow Source Energy to use this water for its needs.The trouble with the proposal is the government is standing in the way of the government.The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has no problem with the proposal. However, the Kansas Division of Water Resources has denied the request.“It’s strange because both departments work for the same state of Kansas,” Collins said.“It would be a win-win situation for both the city and the drilling company,” Korte said.But if this does not work out, Collins said the city is looking at other proposals including having the oil company assist in constructing other water supplies to the city of Wellington in exchange for its use of water.It is all part of the irony: while oil and water don’t mix, when it comes to drilling, the elements most certainly mix. by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — With the possibility of an oil boom coming to Sumner County, so comes concerns for another commodity undoubtedly even more precious to the area — water.After nearly three years of speculation, mineral rights haggling, and news of oil riches elsewhere, Sumner County is starting to see its first oil rigs pull into the area.The water hydrant at U.S. 160 and Seneca connected to a hose to the new oil well.Source Energy Partners, headquartered in Highlands Ranch, Colo., was the first to stake down near Wellington in 2013. The drilling company is located on property owned by Robert Miller — west of the Kansas Turnpike and north of U.S. 160. The company touts itself on its website as a “resource development company with oil and gas interests focused on the Mississippian Lime Play in Oklahoma and Kansas.” It is the first company within the Wellington city zoning district to start the horizontal drilling process.While the idea of oil production can whet the appetite of those hoping for new riches in the area, there is another sight that has caused concern.A water hose connects the city water hydrant at Seneca Road and East Highway U.S. 160 to the new oil well. That hydrant, located where the old turnpike motel once sat, connects to the line that services the KTA gate with Wellington city water.Sumner Newscow has received e-mails from concerned citizen on the subject. One person, who wishes to remain anonymous, was especially concerned:“After watching the meter, it was determined that 7,100 gallons of water was used in 35 minutes,” the person in the e-mail stated.  “That would be about 336,000 gallons a day for one well. As precious as water is in this drought, I believe many citizens of Wellington would be very upset upon learning this.“The city is talking about rationing and they are selling it off to the oil companies behind our back. Not just that, but they won’t allow a rural meter to someone who wants to build outside the city limits. But they sure allow these companies who won’t be here more than year to gorge it…”Sumner Newscow is obviously not the only source to be receiving such complaints. Wellington City Manager Gus Collins said he has been receiving a lot of inquiries. So much so that he addressed the council briefly at Tuesday’s meeting. A city council work session has also been called on Wednesday to address the subject. Collins position…The Wellington City has sold the use of 2.2 million gallons of “potable” water, i.e. treated water, to Source Energy at a rate of  $4.40 per thousand gallons. That equates to $9,680 to the city.Oil drilling by Source Energy.While 2.2 million gallons sounds like a lot, Collins said comparably speaking to the total water consumption used in Wellington it is not. On average, 1 million gallons of water is consumed a day during the winter months in Wellington.  That figure jumps to 2.5 to 3 million gallons per day during the peak summer months of July and August.“I will never, ever compromise the use of potable water that would negatively affect the community,” Collins said.And Collins said this is a one-time situation. His hope is that since this is the first oil drilling company, that things will go very well thus sparking an oil boom to come.“If they hit big, that will trigger huge interest from others,” Collins said.Although the oil drilling is outside of the city limits, it is within the three-mile exterior radius surrounding Wellington and falls within its planning jurisdiction.Council member Jan Korte said the city has sufficient water rights to supply this agreement with the drilling company.“The city has a rationing policy to follow in the event water rationing is necessary,” Korte said. “The city is not at this time discussing water rationing.”The drought of the past two years has put significant strain on the Wellington water supply. The Wellington Lake to the west, which is the primary source for Wellington’s water supply, is currently 61 inches below normal due to the drought.The city has started to pump from the Chikaskia River to the west into the Wellington Lake, Korte said. Thus the lake level has increased by nine inches. The city has taken about one third of the water allowed from the river as of Feb. 11.Water from the nine water wells is still available for use, she said.While the winter storm of this week may have supplied a little bit of moisture, it is nominal compared to what the city is hoping to get with spring rains. Fracking and water…Collins said when Kevan Eddy, a sandman out of Edmond, Okla. working for Source Energy, approached him a few weeks back, he said the company would need 60 to 80 million gallons of water to make the operation work. That is a lump sum of potable water the city was not able, nor willing, to expend.With hydraulic fracturing, water is injected into the ground at a high pressure to help crack shale rock and bring oil to the surface. The industry says it takes as much as 2 million gallons of water to drill a single horizontal well in Kansas, according to a CNN Money article (see story here).Most drillers use groundwater or surface water from ponds and river. Water permits in south-central Kansas have soared to the highest level in 30 years.Harper County to the west is fully aware of the water issue that comes with an oil boom. One company turned Harper County’s biggest lake into a water source. Select Energy excavated Anthony Lake so it can hold more rainfall last spring.Local Harper County farmers and landowners are also making money by digging their ponds deeper, praying for more rain, and then selling whatever water they have to oil companies.The water used for fracking amounts to less than 1 percent of the state’s overall use, the article said. But water supplies are already so tight, it’s difficult for farmers to ensure they have enough for irrigation.Also, water used in fracking cannot be recycled for other uses because it is mixed with chemicals, said Joe Spease, chairman of the hydraulic fracturing committee at the Sierra Club. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (21) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +7 Vote up Vote down Yes & No · 389 weeks ago Get the old Lake Wellington dredged by an oil company, farmers get your ponds dug deep, get a new city retaining pond dug by an oil company and DRILL BABY DRILL!!! Report Reply 0 replies · active 389 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down MJE · 389 weeks ago Greywater is water that has been used in fixtures OTHER than toilets (bathing & laundry). If the city told you their untreated sewage is greywater, they are using the term incorrectly. Report Reply 0 replies · active 389 weeks ago -11 Vote up Vote down notla · 389 weeks ago If I find out ,witch city councel members voted to give them our water, they sure won`t get my vote. on election Day…… Report Reply 1 reply · active 388 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down observer · 389 weeks ago Wish I had enough time on my hands to sit and monitor a water meter, and then send emails complaining about it. This is what is wrong with this town anytime something remotely positive happens that the city can benefit from all’s anyone wants to-do is bring up the negatives. And if you do try and speak on behalf of the benefits of the matter your the crazy one trying to ruin the town. Now what’s going to hurt the town more sitting back and not let anything new happen and watch the town continue to slowly die, or get behind the city when they are wanting to try new things. Report Reply 1 reply · active 389 weeks ago +3 Vote up Vote down Nonya · 389 weeks ago The problem with this person is they have no clue whats going on, which happens a lot in this town. Before they waste everyone’s time they need to talk to people who know instead of the hear-say in the beauty shops. I bet a 20 dollar bill that the person wasn’t reading the meter right anyway. Report Reply 0 replies · active 389 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down duster man · 389 weeks ago Ease up everyone there will not be that many of these wells drilled in the county,there has been six of these wells drilled and only one in production and no gushers just go to website and look at monthly production,heck the ones by caldwell only pumped for two months at less then 131 barrells per month,the two by conway are not even in production that shell drilled,so before the big up roar about water just set back this deal will phase out quickly its not cost effective unless you get 500 plus barrrel per day and thats just not left around here. Report Reply 1 reply · active 389 weeks ago -3 Vote up Vote down notlla · 389 weeks ago That`s Right, Gus Collins discused the potable water for the oil wells briefly, then quickly changed the topic to Gray water. If you people don`t think this water situation isn`t serious, you better think again. When the time come`s, Where are we going to buy water, and how mutch, are we going to have to pay for it..???????????????????????????????? Report Reply 2 replies · active 389 weeks ago +4 Vote up Vote down observer · 389 weeks ago I live in Rural water district nubmer1. I have tried to get a rural water meter for 5 years but was denied. The rurat water district could not add any new water meters to the system due to the city of Wellington whom RWD #1 purchases the water. The lake was paid for by federal tax $ and dredged with addinitol grants Why is the city shorting themselves, the quick $ is not always the best $ I work in Wellington my property tax goes to the Wellington school (9nth worst test scores in the state, real bang for the buck their)l, I pay sales tax to the city when I buy gas, groceries, eat at the local restraunts. What would happen if all the rural residents treated Wellington like the City goverment has been treating them. That would be a lot of tax $ going to other communites. The city needs to look at the bigger picture, rural residents bring $ to the table, that could go to other communites. On a side note it would be pretty sad to see residents being rationed but water being sold to an oil rig. I hope the grey water matter gets setteled at the state level. That would be a good source of water for the oil fields. Report Reply 0 replies · active 389 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down bazinga19 · 389 weeks ago The Wellington lake that observer said was paid for with federal monies is incorrect. Also there was no dredging done with additional grants.Also most of the sales tax that is collected goes to the state of Kansas His beef with school property tax has nothing to do with City Government, two different tax entities. This person likes to rant without being informed. He should get into politics. Report Reply 1 reply · active 389 weeks ago -1 Vote up Vote down doug · 389 weeks ago One day or one year’s worth of water….makes no difference. The city won’t hook on a new rural customer that might use 10,000 gal. a month. The lake’s very low. Can’t drink oil but sure could do a lot of drinking on a million gallons of water. Report Reply 0 replies · active 389 weeks ago 12Next » Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new commentslast_img