|I&W Project, Carlsbad, New Mexico|
RESPEC is currently under contract to the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Oil Conservation Division (OCD) to operate and maintain an early-warning system for a brine cavern beneath the former I&W facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico. The brine cavern was formed as a result of solution mining of the Salado (Salt) Formation located 450 feet below ground surface.
The brine cavern is believed to be an imminent threat of collapse that could directly affect adjacent residential areas, two major US highways, a feed store, a church, and the Carlsbad Irrigation District canal that supports large farming communities to the south. A collapse also has the potential to force brine water into the overlying aquifer where it could contaminate local groundwater with salt.
Since April 2009, RESPEC has been tasked with providing a three-phase approach to this project. The tasks include site characterization, surface subsidence monitoring, and early-warning system. The surface subsidence monitoring program and the early-warning system are operated on a continuous basis. Site characterization included a two-dimensional seismic survey and the reentry of Eugenie #1 to perform a sonar survey of the Salado cavern. RESPEC has also assisted the OCD with completing magnetotelluric and electrical resistivity surveys.