Compendium of past and ongoing Powder River basin coal bed methane related planning efforts, studies and monitoring and mitigation measures related to water resources.
Bureau of Land Management
·Water well agreements - Landowner/operator contracts addressing water well impairment and mitigation measures. Must have prior to approval of permit to drill.
·Well control, casing, cementing and plugging procedures to ensure protection of fresh water aquifers are specified as conditions of permit approval.
·A Programmatic Mitigation Plan was developed in the Wyodak Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The Plan includes a full range of practicable means to avoid or minimize environmental harm. They are applied on a site-specific basis as "condition of approval" to a drilling permit.
·Site-specific mitigation not identified in the Programmatic Mitigation Plan can result from individual environmental analyses completed for an application for permit to drill.
·39 existing monitoring wells in coals, overburden sands and underburden sands have been established to monitor and document changes in groundwater levels.
·Surface water-gauging station established on the Belle Fourche River (quality and quantity).
·Additional surface water gauging stations will be installed as necessary.
·Periodic water quality sampling at discharge points and other locations will be conducted.
·Monitoring of selected channels for signs of accelerated erosion and degradation will be conducted.
·Petroleum Engineering Technicians, Natural Resource Specialists, Hydrologists and Soil Scientists conduct routine inspections.
Studies/Environmental Assessments (BLM analyzes every phase of CBM development on all lands not just federal lands)
·Water Management Plans
A comprehensive plan submitted with each Application for Permit to Drill addressing how produced water will be handled during testing and production of wells for the protection of the environment and surface concerns.
·1990 CBM Environmental Assessment, Easter Campbell County and Western Johnson County
·1992 American Oil and Gas - Marquis Field CBM Project EA
·1992 Exxon Pistol Point - Coal Bed Methane Project Environmental Assessment
·1992 BETOP - Rawhide Butte Field EA
·1995 Lighthouse - CBM Project EA
USDI BLM 1994. Assessment of Groundwater Impacts Related to the
Proposed Lighthouse Coal Bed Methane Project.
·1996 Gillette North CBM Project EA
·1997 Gillette South CBM Project EIS
·1999 Wyodak EIS
Included a technical analysis written for BLM by Applied Hydrology & Associates on "Ground Water Modeling of CBM Development, Powder River Basin, Wyoming".
·2000 BLM Wyodak Drainage completed March 2001
·2000 Powder River Basin Oil and Gas Development EIS
Will contain updated groundwater modeling/assessment for entire basin. Will contain updated surface water modeling/assessment for entire basin. Will contain water infiltration study for entire basin.
·Site-specific environmental assessments are completed for each and every well or POD to identify the need for additional mitigation measures. BLM field personnel do onsite inspections at every federal well prior to approval of drilling permits.
U.S. Corps of Engineers
·Compliance with General Permit 98-08 that governs the placement of fill materials into draws and drainages, including wetlands. It covers construction of roads, pads, utilities, reservoirs, and erosion controls as well as providing mitigation measures for those activities.
Wyoming Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
·Well control, casing, cementing and plugging procedures to ensure protection of fresh water zones are standard conditions of approval for well permits.
·Permits must be obtained for construction and use of pits for drilling, workovers and recompletions.
·Field technicians do routine compliance inspections of producing facilities.
Department of Environmental Quality
·National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits require reporting of and compliance with:
Discharge water quality standards
Wyoming State Engineer
·Groundwater interference statutes provide protection from impacts to water rights.
·Groundwater monitoring well network (5 pairs of wells), similar to BLM's.
Office of State Lands/Investment Planning
·8-point Water Management Plan must be submitted for wells on state lands. Plan covers steps that will be taken to minimize environmental harm.
University of Wyoming/Studies
·CBM Produced Water & its Effects on Native Plant Species(Dr. Skinner)
·Plant/soil/water interactions (Dr. Skinner)
·Burger Draw Erosion Potential Mapping Project (Dr. Wilkerson)
· In cooperation with DEQ, USGS, Water Development Comm. & State Geologist
·Study of Strontium Isotopes to delineate PRB aquifers to assess inflow/outflow and recharge of aquifers (U.W. Graduate Student Ben Pierson)
Water Development Commission
·Powder - Tongue Rivers Basin Watershed Planning
·North East Wyoming Basin Watershed Planning
·Tongue River Watershed Management Plan
·Digital Elevation Model study
·Channel fluvial morphology study
·Desktop Geographic Information System (GIS) for development of an erosion model.
·Development of a Dead Horse/Wild Horse/Spotted Horse Watershed Management Plan agreed to by Conservation Districts
·EPA funded study on Berger Draw to refine Best Management Practices (BMPs) to stabilize channels with native vegetation.
·Coordinated Resource Management (CRM) Groups
Belle Fourche Drainage
Dead Horse Drainage
Wild Horse Drainage
Spotted Horse/LX Bar Drainage
·Water Feasibility Studies (WFS) - Identify baseline conditions, potential water volumes, channel capacity, channel morphology, landowner desires for use of water, irrigation, etc. Studies will also propose mitigation measures in response to the data gathering/hydrologic modeling.
Dead Horse Drainage WFS
Wild Horse Drainage WFS
Spotted Horse/LX Bar Drainage WFS
·Sodium Absorption Ratio Study to support DEQ issuance of NPDES permits Tier 1-Short Term analysis of main stem drainages (submitted to DEQ) Tier 2-Long Term analysis main stem drainages
·Barium Antidegradation Study
·Report on drinking water use on the Powder River, Belle Fourche, Cheyenne, Tongue and Little Powder Rivers
·DEQ indicates that CBM businesses have permitted almost 100 injection wells to assess the economic and geologic feasibility of reinjection.
·CBM Produced Water "Best Management Practices" for Iron Control (Technology evaluation and transfer).
·Wyoming Water Resource Center (WWRC). 1997 A Study of Techniques to Assess Surface and Groundwater Impacts Association with Coal Bed Methane and Surface Coal Mining.
·Peacock, K. 1997. Assessing the Cumulative Impacts of Surface Mining and Coal Bed Methane Development on Shallow Aquifers in the Powder River Basin, Wyoming: in Brandt, J.E., ed., Proceedings - 14th Annual National Meeting of the American Society for Surface Mining and Reclamation, Austin, Texas, p. 648-666.
PAW - November 2000/update July 2001