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Protest group organizes to oppose wastewater well near Burdick

Staff writer

A group calling itself Flint Hills Stewards is protesting an application by Quail Oil and Gas Co. of Garden City for permission to inject saltwater into a new Morris County well near Burdick.

The group contends that the well is close to a large fault line and could make the Flint Hills earthquake prone, as apparently has happened in areas of Oklahoma where disposal wells are sometimes connected with a different oil and gas extraction technique called fracking.

Group founders Cindy Hoedi of Matfield Green and Elexa Dawson of Cedar Point are seeking to raise money to mount a legal challenge.

Of 20 existing wastewater wells in Morris County, two-thirds receive less than the 5,000 barrels a day the new well could receive. That is a fraction of the wastewater pumped into wells in the south-central part of the state.

Tandis Bidgoli, assistant scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey, was surprised by the group’s opposition because the Kansas Corporation Commission has a precedent of approving such wells.

Construction is regulated to prevent seepage into groundwater. Wells must have concrete casings and be at least 500 feet deep.

Under new state regulations imposed in 2015, the commission monitors wells that accept more than 5,000 barrels of wastewater a day to assess seismic impact. The Morris County well is limited to no more than 5,000 barrels.

Flint Hills Stewards contends that proximity to historic Diamond Springs as well as the potential impact earthquakes might have on historic buildings or even the Wolf Creek Power Plant at Burlington would make this a dangerous spot for a wastewater well.

Rick Basore, a Burdick resident, said he heard something about the proposed well but promptly forgot about it. He said he had not heard any talk about it among townsfolk.

Bill Kassebaum, who lives northeast of Burdick and whose mother has land adjacent to the well site, had no opinion on the matter.

Kansas Corporation Commission is accepting public comments through June 15, when a hearing is planned in Wichita.

Last modified May 18, 2017

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