Colleyville drill site could be fracked frequently for next year and a half

Posted Monday, Jan. 28, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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COLLEYVILLE -- Fracking could become a regular occurrence for the next 16 months at a drill site on Pleasant Run Road unless Colleyville officials agree to allow a gas company to tap into city water.

City Council members were surprised to learn at a recent work session that Atlas Barnett plans to frack every 45 days starting in April and continuing until August, 2014.

"That's a hell of a lot of disruption for a long time," said Councilman Michael Muhm.

Every 45 days, Atlas Barnett will inject water, chemicals and sand into the ground to break up shale and release gas. A portion of each of the seven wells will be fracked until the 2.95-million-gallon storage pond runs out of water. When all the water is gone, crews will leave the site to give the water well time to refill the pond, returning about a month and a half later to repeat the process, said Ron Ruthven, Colleyville's development director.

Colleyville's drilling regulations require gas companies to find their own water sources to protect the city's water supply.

Some council members said they are having second thoughts because they never imagined a gas company would need to come out 10 times because of water limitations.

Councilman Mike Taylor said the city should consider selling water for fracking so Atlas could stay on-site longer. The city has a new tiered water rate plan that charges the highest rate to the biggest consumers, Taylor said.

"If they can get in and out faster and be done, I'm not so sure it's not a bad idea," Taylor said. "I can't see allowing them to go a year and a half."

The council directed the city staff to discuss the issue with Atlas officials.

"There has been discussion about the long-term schedule that Atlas has proposed but no decision as of this date," said Mona Gandy, city spokeswoman.

The wells will be capped after each fracking period. The flow back process, where the water is pumped out, will wait until a natural gas transmission line is brought to the site, Ruthven said.

Earlier this month, Atlas officials said they are finalizing a pipeline route and that could be ready to submit to Colleyville this spring. They indicated the route might go through Colleyville and Keller to connect to an existing line on Davis Boulevard in North Richland Hills.

Atlas agreed to delay fracking until April so Colleyville could finish the roundabout at John McCain and Pleasant Run Roads.

However, a "pre-fracking activity" will take place this week that will close the intersection for about 15 minutes.

Lease obligations require Atlas Barnett to perforate the wells by dropping explosives down the well bore, Ruthven said.

A convoy of nine trucks will be escorted on a truck route from Colleyville Boulevard to Tinker Road to Pleasant Run Road. Since the roundabout isn't finished, police will close the intersection for about 15 minutes., said Bob Lowry, public works director.

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