Ford Ranch Subsurface Drip Irrigation Project
Service provided: Dispersal of natural gas produced water
Location: Campbell County, Wyoming
Daily capacity: 11,000 barrels (1.75 ML) per day
Project start date: November 2007
Area developed: 155 acres (63 ha), 318 mi (511 km) drip tubing, 6.2 miles (10 km) pipeline, pond capacity 15 acre feet (19 ML)
Water quality: EC = 2330 µS/cm, SAR = 31, Na = 575 mg/L, HCO3 = 1430 mg/L, TDS = 1550 mg/L
Crops produced: alfalfa (lucerne), sanfoin – grass mix
This project abuts the Wyoming – Montana border along the Powder River. Because of friction between the two states over water quality and volume delivered to Montana, it was difficult to permit. BeneTerra did extensive groundwater investigation and developed a model to estimate the impact of the subsurface drip irrigation (SDI) system on the river.
The model showed that the small groundwater mound created by the SDI system would prevent riparian losses and cause more water to be delivered to Montana. The model was adopted and optimized water dispersal rates for individual field blocks to prevent natural gas produced water from entering the stream. There have been no adverse environmental impacts to soils, ground or surface water.