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UPDATED: State Officials Say Carlsbad Brine Well Still in Danger of Collapse

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officials held public meeting Wednesday in Carlsbad on the brine well


State officials say a brine well in Carlsbad is still in danger of collapse, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported.

The brine well near the intersection of U.S. 285 and 62/180 was the subject of a public meeting Wednesday, according to the newspaper.

The Current-Argus said the results of a seismic survey showing the interpretations of four different seismologists regarding the size of the underground cavity and displaced minerals around the cavity were presented by the New Mexico Oil Conservation Division.

Jim Griswold, division hydrologist, displayed a seismic reading on a previous brine well collapse, which showed activity eight hours before the collapse. He said sensors in place at the Carlsbad brine well could offer the same eight-hour warning of collapse, according to the newspaper.

The Current-Argus reported that Mark Fesmire, division director, said that because of the cost of the seismic readings, the division is out of money for the project and cannot continue to investigate the scene without funding from other sources.

Carlsbad Mayor Bob Forrest said he would mobilize various agencies to take action, although it’s unclear what that action might be, the newspaper reported. Oil Conservation Division officials said nothing like this brine well has been undertaken before, so there are no previous courses of action to study.




Thursday, 22 October 2009 15:05


The state Oil Conservation Division says it will hold a meeting next week in Carlsbad to update the public about new information obtained concerning a potential brine well cavern collapse.

The division announced in a news release Thursday that the meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Carousel Room at the Pecos River Village Conference Center at 711 Muscatel Ave. It will be the third public meeting that has been held on the brine well issue.

 The division has been investigating and studying brine wells in New Mexico since two brine wells collapsed without warning last year in Eddy County.

The news release said that a brine production facility in Carlsbad with two historic wells raised red flags for the division due to its location, which is between U.S. 285 and U.S. 180/62 where those two highways meet at a “Y”-shaped intersection. Certain aspects of the Carlsbad facility, such as the shallow depth and length of time in service, are similar to the two wells that already collapsed and the division has concluded the site likely poses a serious risk.