Published: Jan. 30, 2023
Joe Ryan

Joe Ryan's research into leaking oil and gas wells is being spotlighted in Denver and nationally.

Denver 7 ABC TV interviewed Ryan for a feature on research into groundwater risks from abandoned and gas wells. The station also syndicated the story to stations across the country.

Ryan, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering and the Environmental Engineering program, recently published research into leaking oil and gas wells in Weld County. The data shows 26.5 percent of wells are leaking, presenting contamination risks to nearby ground water.

When oil is extracted deep from the earth’s surface it must pass through aquifers closer to ground level. In most cases, there is a layer of cement around the well’s casing to prevent leaking, but Ryan has found that the casing is not always intact as carcinogens can seep into the water supply.

“This is a problem that we have detected in certain water wells that have been monitored, but there are probably 10 times as many water wells out there that weren’t measured,” said Ryan.

Watch the full piece at Denver 7...