Health and Safety

Oil and gas drilling, fracking and production has generated health and safety concerns from the community – in particular from those who live close to this kind of development. Arapahoe County is committed to ensuring the health and safety of residents. Learn more about the primary issues the County is considering for draft regulations.

Please refer to the Glossary of Terms for clarification.

LIGHTNING

Lightning mitigation is important for all oil and gas facilities. A lightning strike could cause fires at a facility. A fire at an oil and gas site has the potential to produce hazardous smoke and can, in severe cases, cause explosions.

Possible solutions: Require lightning mitigation, like flag poles and require operators to implement the latest mitigation technologies as they become available.

EMERGENCY RESPONSE PLANS 

Arapahoe County’s Office of Emergency Management, in coordination with local fire districts, respond to well sites in the event of an emergency. These groups have met and discussed the following possible solutions to ensure the safety of the community and first-responders.

Possible solutions: Require operators to submit a site-specific emergency response plan (ERP) that includes on-site chemical lists and geographic information system (GIS) files for pads and access roads. Require coordinated training with first responders.

WATER QUALITY 

To date, there have been NO recorded incidents of contaminated well water related to oil and gas development in Arapahoe County. However, the integrity of our water quality is a primary concern for the County. The County requires operators to provide a free water quality test for any wells within a half-mile radius of a proposed oil and gas well. The state also requires an operator to perform water quality testing (up to four samples) as outlined by COGCC’s Rule 609. Once production of the well begins (after drilling and fracking is completed) the state will collect samples one year later and again in five to six years.

Possible solutions: Carry over the County provision for well water testing to the new regulations and monitor operators’ compliance with Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission’s Rule 609. Require operators to submit water quality summary reports.