Employees at a Grand County drilling company working on a project at Hovenweep National Monument have been reassigned to other job duties in the midst of the partial government shutdown.
Todd Beeman, president of Beeman Drilling Services, said on Jan. 10 that the company has been forced to halt completion of a drilling operation for a water well near the Hovenweep Visitor Center.
Hovenweep National Monument is located near the Montezuma Creek area in San Juan County, about 120 miles southeast of Moab.
“We’ve got a small impact with the government shutdown because we’ve got a rig down there on the Hovenweep,” Beeman said.
Beeman said the project is “at the very end” of the completion phase and estimated about 80 percent of the work has already been completed on the water well, which he said is a replacement water production well.
“The last step of the completion phase is the installation of pumping equipment and tying into the visitor center, and that’s where we’re kind of in limbo right now,” he said. “The federal employees that are making the decisions on the well themselves, because they have been laid off, no one is there to tell us how to proceed.”
A federal government geologist and a hydrologist are among the employees now unavailable to guide the completion of the project, Beeman said. He said Beeman Drilling Services was closed for the holidays, but work could not resume on Jan. 1 at the site without federal supervision.
“We have the drill crew here at the shop doing make-do work,” Beeman said. “I didn’t lay them off. We have other equipment they can work on until drilling picks back up in the spring or we get further instructions on how to complete the job.”
Beeman Drilling Services has one drill rig at the Hovenweep site.
“It’s a smaller drilling operation,” Beeman said.
The partial federal government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 has become the longest running shutdown in the country’s history.
Grand County drilling company awaits direction to complete visitor center water well project
“We have the drill crew here at the shop doing make-do work.”