Scheduled methane leak testing of the Davis 43-6 plugged and abandoned well under Graham Peak Way in Anthem Highlands has been delayed due to the pandemic. This came to light when Council Member Jean Lim began asking City and County of Broomfield (CCOB) Staff about the testing following high TVOC (total volatile organic compound) readings at Thunder Vista and a May 12 methane spike at Soaring Eagle.
Neither Ajax nor Boulder Air scientists could explain the May 12 morning methane spike during the 1st Quarter Air Quality Monitoring Report at the May 12 Council Meeting. Dr. Detlev Helmig of Boulder Air described the methane spike as higher than any reading he had seen in three years at Boulder Reservoir.
The methane leak of the Davis 43-6 plugged and abandoned well was originally discovered in June 2019 when elevated methane levels were found during routine soil gas testing by CCOB. After many delays and false starts in looking for the source, CCOB held a crowded public meeting on September 28, 2019. As part of Colorado’s orphan well program, the COGCC completed remediation in November 2019. However, in January and February of 2020, the COGCC continued testing as they determined that there was still methane in the soil at about 18 feet down that had not dissipated. On March 30, 2020, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) contractor Antea was scheduled to meet with CCOB and the COGCC, according to a March 20 news update from CCOB. Antea was hired to construct a soil vapor extraction system (SVE) near the Davis 43-6 site in order to extract remaining methane vapors in the subsoil using a vacuum.
CCOB Staff stated in response to Council Member Lim’s recent concern that “further work on the Davis 43-6 well p & a methane leak scheduled for March by the COGCC was delayed due to COVID-19. COGCC has indicated that the Davis 43-6 plugged and abandoned well does not pose an imminent threat, as the source has been sealed. COGCC’s contractor is using its best judgement to determine when they can safely perform the work within the Governor’s safe distancing orders for COVID-19. A site visit, with Broomfield, COGCC, and the contractor is planned in the near future. CCOB staff will provide updates on when this work is anticipated to begin.”
In a recent 5/12 COGCC Readiness White Paper, the COGCC claimed, “Regardless of the economic conditions and in the face of a workplace pandemic, the COGCC is poised to continue its responsible regulation of the oil and gas industry in Colorado in a manner that protects public health, safety, and welfare, the environment and wildlife resources.”
Construction had been halted in the new Anthem Highlands development near the well site under Graham Peak Way. Recent photos show there is still no development near the well on either side of the street. There has been no public update from CCOB provided on this issue and concerned residents can email Council at firstname.lastname@example.org.