Research on Pavillion Water Contamination

 Victoria Fregoso reports, vfregoso@k2tv.com 

 Workers with the department of environmental quality and the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission are still trying to pinpoint the source of Pavillion's water contamination.



Recently, 32 mud pits were considered for review. These pits were once used to hold drilling fluids while natural gas wells were drilled.

"Since the 90's, these have all been closed," said Gary Strong of the Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission. "So we're going back and doing forensics on them, essentially."

Research is also being done within 1,500 feet of each well that showed contamination during EPA testing to find out if there is another source for this contamination.

"Within that radius, what we're still lacking in is the study of the septic tanks, potential for storage tanks, either privately owned or owned by the oil and gas company," Strong says.

Originally, there were 169 gas wells drilled in the Pavillion area. Of those, 80 were of immediate concern, so they were cemented from top to bottom. But there were 32 wells that weren't completely closed off. So these wells will be tested to find out if there is any gas pressure build up.

"What that leaves is a space behind the casing. If there was any gas or if there were any contaminants in a deeper aquifer, they could migrate to shallower aquifers."

Right now, alternatives are being considered to provide residents with water. These include extending the town's water supply out to a separate area and creating a new well.
Up next, well test results will be reviewed and a group will research to find out what was done with the contents of the mud pits.