What are the activities that occur with drilling?

Activities associated with drilling include initial site visit, clearing, and site preparations, installation of the drill rig, drilling, containment and removal of any waste product, stabilization of the site, installation of the pump check, installation of the gathering and transmission line and tank battery installation, as well as restoring disturbed vegetation, and installation of a fence and a containment berm around the well site or its facilities. 

Drilling is an industrial activity and may result in noise, odors or dust. Accordingly, standards have been established by the Oil and Gas Commission for drilling and ongoing operations including noise levels. State regulations also require gas companies to mitigate dust and air pollution during construction and operations. Dust and air pollution regulated by the State Health Department and various permits are required for these emissions. In addition, any contaminated soils are required to be removed and disposed of in accordance with Federal regulations. If you are concerned about the sound or other emissions generated by drilling operation or an existing well, please contact the COGCC field inspector to take sound measurements and coordinate with the rig operator (303.894.2100) and the owner of the well may make any necessary corrections. You may also contact the rig or well operator or the Town’s designated representative for assistance. 

Installing a well from start to finish will take as long as five or six weeks. However, if there are multiple well sites to be drilled, then the length of time the rig is on-site may be longer. In addition: 

  • Depending on the location, an access road may be constructed.
  • A three-acre area surrounding the drill site will be fenced off.
  • Excavation equipment will be moved to the site to prepare for drilling.
  • Drilling rig and necessary equipment will move in, and the location will be built (placed).
  • Surface casing is set in the uppermost part of the hole in order to protect freshwater zones

  and formations.

  • Drilling (which continues 24 hours per day) lasts six to eight days, depending on the depth of the well.
  • When drilling is finalized, steel casing is lowered into the hole and cemented into place.
  • Drilling rig and equipment are moved off location, and the completion operation begins. This requires a smaller rig used to fracture or “frack” the well, temporary water tanks, and pump equipment. This operation is usually completed within 24– 48 hours, per well.
  • Oil, water and gas flow to the surface through the wellhead and into a buried steel flowline to the production facilities.
  • Production facilities, including oil and water storage tanks, a separator and a gas metering system, are installed on the surface.