Map of Injection Wells
Injection wells are where well operators dump the "produced water", which occurs naturally, plus the "flowback", which is man-made. Flowback is the portion of the fracking fluid that comes back up once the the well has been fracked under high pressure (e.g. 10,000 lbs/psi); but once the fracking phase is done, the wellhead must be opened up to allow gas to flow up the wellbore; this results in about half the amount of fracking fluid that was pumped down, that was previously under high pressure, to seek release, which means forcing the excess fracking fluid out the wellhead . This is the "flowback".
"Produced water" is water that was already present in the target geologic strata that was already there, and due to the pressure differential, gets pushed up the wellbore along with the fracking fluid. This water typically contains a high salt content, toxic metals and can even be naturally radioactive; of course, this varies by location. The amount of water used for fracking fluids in fracking a well is large, somewhere between 3 to 8 million gallons per well per frack job, or even up to 15 million gallons for more current wells, which have longer and more dense traverse wellbores. Where operators obtain this water can be a problem in semi-arid climates like Colorado, and can increase water stress between the industry, agriculture and communities. The waste water is no longer usable (some consider it a toxic waste), so it must be pumped down a Class II injection well (> 8000' deep). This disposal method permanently removes all the water from the hydrologic cycle and has been proven to cause earthquakes, but is still unregulated from that standpoint in Colorado. The entire process, in the opinion of the Alliance, is underregulated, and has been a growing problem that this "self-regulating" industry has never solved. (see The Fracking Industry’s Water Nightmare, Desmog Blog, Sept 18, 2018. For more information on the hazards of disposal wells, and the enormous scale of the problem, see Injection Wells: The Poison Beneath Us, ProPublica, June 12, 2012)
There are 24 such wells in the county (as of May 2020), located in the same areas where the producing wells are. Since the produced water and flowback fracking fluid is accomplished during the completion phase, it is unclear how much the injection wells get used once the producing wells are completed.
Click a marker to see its identifying API #. Use the API# to locate a well in the accompanying data table.
To see the well data: https://tinyurl.com/yctrlpom