EnCana plans cutting edge project in response to air-quality violation
As part of a settlement for violating state air-quality regulations, EnCana Gathering Services has been ordered to design, construct and operate an underground gas-gathering system that will help eliminate air pollution. The project will be built in an EnCana development area either in Garfield or Rio Blanco county.EnCana must spend at least $407,000 on the project, said Christopher Dann, spokesman for the Colorado Division of Public Health and Environment Air Pollution Control Division.The company was also fined $40,740.A “Compliance Order on Consent” was issued by the division in November and was signed by EnCana on Dec. 2. It gives EnCana until December of this year to construct the project and report on its operation.The violations occurred at the East Mamm Creek Compressor Station and the West Rifle Gas Processing Plant, both in Garfield County, and the Park Canyon West Compressor Station and the Dragon Trail Gas Processing Plant in Rio Blanco County.EnCana was cited for exceeding volatile organic compound emission limits, in particular nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide, and for failing to comply with various notification requirements applied to the operation of the equipment at those sites.Inspections conducted by the state and the Environmental Protection Agency in 2003 found that VOCs were vented directly into the air at Mamm Creek, the Hunter Mesa gas gathering station and West Rifle.”During the period from January 2003 through August, VOC emissions from equipment leaks at West Rifle totaled 4.69 tons,” the consent order said. Emission limits for VOCs are 4.4 tons per year.According to Dann, projects imposed in lieu of penalties for air emissions violations are not unusual.”That’s been part of our approach to compliance for several years, with the civil penalty set aside to put money into beneficial environmental project,” Dann said. “The fact that this system could lead to a technological advance in industry … is pretty much a new thing.”The closed gathering system will be located either in the Eureka or Mamm Creek development areas. It will collect liquids from natural gas in underground pipelines from five well pads with one to two wells each. The closed system will be designed to eliminate VOC emissions. Currently, these compounds are emitted when highly pressurized liquids are removed from the natural gas and stored in above-ground tanks.The system will replace the tanks and reduce truck traffic, said EnCana spokeswoman Florence Murphy. Trucks now remove the stored liquid, called condensate, from gas processing stations. “It will reduce associated noise and dust. That’s what the neighborhood would see,” Murphy said. “It’s a new approach. We’re excited about working with state on it.”Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. firstname.lastname@example.org
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