Citizens Criticize Montezuma County's Use of "Fossil Water"

Jun 15, 2017

Montezuma County’s use of so-called “fossil water” for dust abatement drew criticism at the county commission meeting Monday.

The water is a byproduct of oil and gas drilling that contains calcium chloride. Ellen Foster of Dolores read a statement noting that the company providing the water to Montezuma County, Reams Construction of Naturita, was not authorized to distribute it because of a state order. In 2016, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had issued a conditional approval for Reams’ plan to distribute the water but only if the company provided users with a statement warning that the material “contains sodium and radium at levels much greater” than in commercial dust suppressants. In April of this year, the health department learned that Reams had not been doing so. The county has reportedly finished with dust abatement for the year, but Road Supervisor Rob Englehart said he would look into the situation.