State offers water cisterns to residents near Pavillion

State offers water cisterns to residents near Pavillion by Martin Reed, June 1, 2012, The Riverton Ranger
State government officials on Thursday night in Pavillion offered two choices to residents living east of Pavillion affected by poor quality drinking water containing potentially harmful substances. Get a cistern system paid for and installed using State of Wyoming funds, or “keep doing what you’re doing,” said Mike Purcell, director of the Wyoming Water Development Office. “This is totally voluntary. If you’re happy with your situation, by all means keep doing what you’re doing,” Purcell said. … Residents who choose to get a cistern paid by a $750,000 appropriation from the Wyoming Legislature will get a system that includes a storage tank capable of holding 3,000 to 4,000 gallons of clean water — a two- to three-week supply. They will be responsible for operations and maintenance costs of the system, as well as routine water delivery costs that could hit $160 or more a month. “The governor is not convinced that receiving your water out of 5-gallon jugs … will suffice,” Rieman said, referring to the situation of some affected residents. … “This is not something that the Legislature has done in the past,” said state Sen. Eli Bebout, R-Riverton, who was a lead proponent of the appropriation. “This problem is so unique, and so many people are affected, we were able to convince the Legislature” to approve the funding, Bebout told the more than 50 people attending the meeting. … There are about 35 wells identified in and around the vicinity of what’s known as the Pavillion gas field that are eligible for the cisterns. Encana Oil and Gas owns the field in question. Anyone residing outside of the area who wants a cistern can request a well test by the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The presence of hydrocarbons will qualify residents for a cistern installed at their home. … Rieman said costs associated with water delivery could decrease if there is a partner such as Encana that participates. Those attending the meeting were not unanimous in their support of the cistern proposal. … Jeff Locker, who has water containing harmful substances at his property, and others expressed skepticism about the plan.”I’m not going to buy into anything until I know what it’s going to cost me,” he said. The idea of paying for water resulting from problems he and others say energy industry activity caused in the area is “a little bit out of line for me,”

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