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Arapahoe County News

Posted on: October 21, 2021

Arapahoe County Board to host public hearing around oil and gas regulations

Oil and gas site in Arapahoe County

New oil and gas regulations for Arapahoe County will be reviewed and could be adopted by the Board of County Commissioners after a public hearing set for Oct. 26. The Board will host the public hearing at 9:30 a.m. at the Arapahoe County Administration Building, 5334 S Prince St., in Littleton.

The proposed new regulations are the result of a comprehensive review by Arapahoe County Public Works and Development (PWD) that started in September 2019 after the passage of Senate Bill-19 181. The legislation granted additional authority to county governments to enhance oil and gas regulations in their communities. The County’s Planning Commission also held a public hearing before approving the draft regulations on Oct. 5.

Review the 17-page draft regulations. Among the highlights are detailed requirements for the application and approval process, which include public outreach and safety guidelines that must be followed. 

Other Notable Provisions:

Approval and Review: The PWD director will ultimately approve any administrative application submitted for a new oil and gas facility. The draft regulations also provide standards for an administrative alternative with a use-by special review process. Applicants can opt for a use-by special review with a public hearing if they propose alternative standards for a project. If the County seeks to revoke a County-issued permit for an oil and gas facility, the Board will decide after hosting a public hearing. 

In addition, applicants must comply with the following during the application process:

Public Outreach: Contact property owners and registered homeowner’s associations within one mile of the proposed facility pad boundary. A neighborhood meeting must be held.

Setbacks: The proposed pad must be 2,000 feet from any occupied structure, unless the owner of the occupied structure requests a lesser setback and the fire district agrees to provide service to the facility. A proposed pad must be 200 feet from neighboring property lines.

Safety: Applicants must submit a facility-specific Emergency Action Plan and an initial facility-specific Tactical Response Plan, as well as provide 24-hour contact information for the operator. If a site is struck by lightning, the entire facility must shut down for inspection before operations can restart.

Water Sampling: Operators must pay for initial baseline and ongoing sampling and testing of all water sources located within one-half mile of the proposed facility. If no water source is located within a half mile, operators must test water sources within a one-mile radius of the facility. 

Noise: Operations cannot exceed 60 dBA or 65dBC, which is measured at the nearest property line with an occupied structure. 

Odor: Operators must use low-odor Category III drilling fluid to prevent odors during drilling. 

Lighting: All site lighting must be directed downward and inward to prevent lighting from impacting neighboring properties. During production, lighting must be turned off between 10 p.m. and dawn. Motion-sensing lights are permitted during these hours.

Visual Mitigation: Well pads within 1,320 feet of a property containing a home must be designed with solid fencing, berming or landscaping. Operators cannot store equipment at a site not associated with the operations of the oil and gas facility. 

Traffic: Operators are to make their best efforts to limit heavy truck traffic on County roads during peak commuting hours and during school bus hours.

Additional information about the proposed Oil and Gas Regulations can be found at www.arapahoegov.com/oilandgas.

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