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The Arkansas River is likely the most significant source of recharge south of the Platte, but the aquifer along the Arkansas is clearly being pumped much faster than it is being recharged over most of its course into Oklahoma. In Kay County, Oklahoma, ten miles from where I grew up in Osage County - the biggest county in Oklahoma and the former Osage Reservation - Phillips Petroleum ran a 36" pipeline from well fields along the Arkansas over to the North Burbank Oil Field, atop of which I grew up, to feed a pattern of injection wells about every 1/4 mile.

There was a similar, offset pattern of recovery wells drilled with each injection well surrounded by four recovery wells. The oil was about 5,000' down and had produced gushers when first tapped around time of statehood in 1907. One then abandoned well not too far from where our house stood had produced light liquids that had so much octane that a car of that era would run on what came out of the ground. I would estimate that the field covered 50 to 100 square miles.

The field was pretty much completed by the late '50s and could still be in operation. In those days a around half of the liquid out of the recovery well was water, which was separated in primary treatment 'heater-treaters'. I remember seeing readings being taken from the standpipes on the sides of the holding tanks. I believe that the separated water was reinjected. It was highly saline, in addition to the VOC contamination.

At a minimum, depending on pump pressure in the water pipeline, this would represent the continual diversion of a 35 square foot portion of the river's flow. But there was still sufficient flow to fill the lake behind the dam that was built on the Arkansas in the '60s. The modern auditorium building, complete with sloped floor and fly stage, along with the kitchen/auditorium at the Shidler High School was paid for out of the 'ear-marks' that went with the authorization for the dam project, and was finished just before my senior year. I graduated in 1960.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Feb 11th, 2012 at 07:54:02 PM EST
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