EnCana agrees to pay $36K fine
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” EnCana Oil and Gas (USA) reached an agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) earlier this month to pay a $36,326 fine for an alleged 2006 storm-water violation in Garfield County.
That is the largest storm-water violation fine connected to oil and gas development on the Western Slope, according to the CDPHE.
EnCana has also agreed to pay $113,417 for an “environmentally beneficial project” in the state, according to the agreement an EnCana representative signed on Sept. 11. The company, however, did not admit to any of the allegations the CDPHE cited in the agreement, which staved off any potential litigation between the agency and EnCana.
The alleged storm-water violation against EnCana, the second largest natural gas operator in Garfield County, stems from a July 18, 2006, visit a CDPHE inspector conducted at EnCana’s South Parachute Field. That field is a 10,880-acre area southwest of Parachute.
The inspector found that EnCana reportedly failed to prepare and maintain a complete and accurate storm-water management plan for the area, which was required by a permit that EnCana obtained, according to the agreement.
Storm-water management plans are required to describe and ensure the implementation of “best management practices,” which would be used to reduce pollutants in storm-water discharges associated with construction activity, the agreement said.
The inspector also found that EnCana failed to implement or maintain best management practices in eight instances, according to the agreement. Some of the failures the inspector cited allegedly caused erosion and sediment discharge, according to the agreement.
The CDPHE noted that EnCana “satisfactorily performed all the obligations and actions” required in an Aug. 2, 2006 compliance advisory sent to the company in wake of the inspector’s findings.
EnCana, in response to the agency’s allegations, said its storm-water management plan was not reviewed by the CDPHE at the time of its July 18, 2006, inspection.
The company also said that the conditions observed during the inspection did not cause or contribute to “a discharge of pollutants” and that the “alleged violations did not contribute to the pollution, contamination or degradation of state waters.”
The CDPHE noted in the agreement that it did not accept any of EnCana’s positions on the alleged violations.
Steve Gunderson, director of the CDPHE’s Water Quality Control Division, said the agency takes all allegations of storm-water violations seriously. He added that storm-water discharges can have significant impacts on water quality.
“Just the sediment and the mud can basically, for example, totally destroy a trout stream,” Gunderson said.
EnCana said in the agreement that since it received the compliance advisory from the state agency, it has reviewed its internal procedures, conducted storm-water training sessions for its employees and taken more steps to make sure it complies with permit requirements in a timely fashion.
“EnCana is deeply committed to maintaining compliance with all applicable storm-water permitting requirements, as well as all other state and federal regulations which apply to the oil and gas industry,” the company wrote in the agreement.
“EnCana has invested substantial time and resources, both before and since the issuance of this compliance advisory, to diligently ensure such compliance.”
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