Colorado’s oil and gas operators understand the importance of protecting Colorado’s water resources. As a result, the Colorado Oil & Gas Association (COGA) has developed an industry-led voluntary Baseline Groundwater Quality Sampling Program (COGA Program) to demonstrate that drilling operations are safe and do not compromise the quality of Colorado’s important water resources. This Program is the first statewide voluntary groundwater quality monitoring program for oil and gas operations in the nation.
The purpose of the COGA Program is to collect data before and after drilling operations at individual well sites to demonstrate that groundwater quality has not been impacted by the drilling and hydraulic fracturing of oil and gas wells.
Under the program, baseline groundwater quality samples will be collected from two existing groundwater features, such as permitted and registered groundwater wells or groundwater seeps and springs, which are located within a ½ mile of the surface location of new oil and gas well pads, or additional wells on existing well pads. These samples will be collected before drilling begins. A second sample will be collected from each groundwater feature within one to three years after drilling is completed. Landowners may decline to participate if they do not want samples to be collected on their property.
All samples will be collected by qualified individuals experienced with water quality sampling and sent to an accredited laboratory for analysis. Laboratory results will be provided to each landowner within three months of collecting the sample(s). With landowner consent, the laboratory results will also be submitted to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) for inclusion in their electronic database. The data will be posted and made available to the public through the COGCC’s website.
COGCC and COGA will review the program annually, and COGA will prepare a written summary report on the program that will be presented to the Commission. Participating operators will annually confirm with COGA that they are following the program guidelines.
Further details can be found in our responses to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).