BLM releases first Pinedale Anticline groundwater monitoring report

The US Bureau of Land Management’s field office in Pinedale, Wyo., released the first of four groundwater monitoring reports for the Pinedale Anticline. The report aims to address hydrogeologic data gaps.

The reports are part of an interim groundwater and aquifer pollution prevention, mitigation, and monitoring plan required under a supplemental environmental impact statement record of decision for the planning area covering one of the nation’s five largest natural gas fields. BLM is preparing the studies in collaboration with Wyoming’s Department of Environmental Quality and the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 8 office in Denver.

BLM said this first report discusses regional aquifer characteristics including general water quality characteristics, flow gradients, basin water budget, and surface water-groundwater interaction. A revised hydrogeological conceptual site model is presented, along with a synthesis of all available and newly collected information.

The report results will be used to inform the public and agency decision-makers as work progresses toward the completion of three additional reports, according to the US Department of the Interior agency.

It said three subsequent reports, which will be released late this year and in early 2013, will evaluate low-level hydrocarbon sources, present a numerical groundwater model, and evaluate as mitigation measures potential pollution prevention controls or best management practices for future and ongoing water sampling events, oil and gas development, and water well installation, operation, and maintenance.

The four documents will be used in the development of a revised Pinedale Anticline Project Area groundwater monitoring program under a final plan that will be released in late 2012 or early 2013, BLM said.

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