City officials say no to selling potable water for oil and gas drilling

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AURORA | Oil and gas drilling companies won’t be able to lease the city’s drinkable water any time soon, members of an Aurora City Council committee agreed at a meeting on Aug. 15.

The discussion comes about a month after council members agreed to lease 1,500 acre feet of “effluent” or used water to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $9.5 million over five years. Effluent water is water that has already been used and treated that would otherwise flow downstream and out of the state. The water is sanitary but not potable or made available for public use.

This week’s discussion had no impact on the Anadarko lease.

City council members  had the discussion after the city received two requests from parties interested in the possibility of acquiring drinkable, or potable, water for oil and gas drilling purposes.

The people interested were not named in city documents or at the Infrastructure and Operations Policy Committee meeting, but committee members said potable water shouldn’t be sold to any entity.

The requests involved using water from city fire hydrants to fill water tankers for use at oil drilling sites, potentially both inside and outside Aurora city limits. The city’s water officials recommended to members of the policy committee that they deny their requests and any future requests for potable water and keep with the city’s current policy against using fire hydrants for any purpose other than fire suppression and system maintenance.

Councilman Brad Pierce said he didn’t think that was an appropriate use of the city’s water.

“We shouldn’t use drinking water or fresh water for this use,” he said.

Councilman Bob Roth, the chairman of the committee, agreed.

“It’s drinking water,” he said. “If we have an emergency situation with a large fire or something, we could really be in a lot of trouble.”

Current city policy only allows hydrant use for in-city purposes for uses including street resurfacing, street patching, street sweeping, and dust control for construction.

The discussion comes about a month after council members agreed to lease 1,500 acre feet of “effluent” or used water to Anadarko Petroleum Corp. for $9.5 million over five years. Effluent water is water that has already been used and treated that would otherwise flow downstream and out of the state. The water is sanitary but not potable or made available for public use.

 

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Cammy
Cammy
9 years ago

Great decision by council.

chartguy
chartguy
9 years ago

Nice of the council to throw away the taxpayers’ money.

mylesahead
mylesahead
9 years ago

So … return flows GOOD for fracking sales, potable water BAD. There’s a third category, “raw water”, which consists of upstream water rights that haven’t been treated for consumption yet. That’s the biggest bucket of all, and it’s where the most money would be if the City decided to make it availablefor sale – to the natural gas industry or to anyone else. I wonder how the Council will reply when they’re inevitably approached to sell raw water for fracking?

reader
reader
9 years ago

hey chartguy — do you really want many, many millions of gallons of water to be
taken from our residental fire hydrants?  how would you like a huge tanker truck
coming into your neighborhood and draining YOUR fire hydrant. . . what would
happen if there were a fire in your neighborhood?

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[…] committee made sure that the city didn’t lease potable water to Anadarko. Here’s a report from Sara Castellanos writing for the Aurora Sentinel. Here’s an excerpt: City council […]