Landowner alerts authorities to gunk seeping out of ground in Silt
SILT, Colorado Orange and black gunk was discovered seeping into West Divide Creek south of Silt on Saturday, June 28, and the property owner who found the site is convinced nearby natural gas activity is the cause, one way or the other.Lisa Bracken said her discovery is eerily similar to the 2004 gas seep in the creek, which was initially found on her property but remediation efforts soon focused on a neighbors property.Its the same distribution pattern, the same type of microfilm sheen in the water that we had back then, Bracken said. The investigation in 2004 just ignored what happened on our property, where it was first discovered.A Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff member collected seven bottles of water with the gunk for testing, she said.They told me it had the characteristics of natural bugs, Bracken said. They said when the waters receded, the hot sun heated up stagnant water and caused this. I want to know what causes the bugs to grow so much more than they have at any time in the last 20 years weve lived out here, until 2004.That seep sent hydrocarbons and cancer-causing benzene into the creek from an improperly completed nearby gas well. EnCana Oil & Gas was fined more than $300,000 for the violation of state regulations in the incident. The company now is about halfway through a program to drill 41 wells in the vicinity of the seep and Brackens land.EnCana spokesman Doug Hock said the company would wait for test results from the state agency before considering any action.We havent had any problems with any of the wells weve drilled out there, he said. Our protocol is to wait for the analysis.Oil and gas commission Deputy Director Mike King said test results on the samples should be available within a week.Im not sure if well ever alleviate all the concerns people have, he said. But we definitely take all concerns seriously.King said staff environmental specialists Chris Canfield and Debbie Baldwin both told him they do not think the latest development was linked to drilling activity. Bracken said she wonders that even if the bugs are natural, Whats making them come out of the ground like this? Ive never seen this black hole with stuff oozing out of it before drilling began several years ago.Bracken said she found four dead crawdads near the oozing material.If it is bugs, something in that area is giving them a food source that isnt there anywhere else on her property, Bracken said. Im just convinced that, at the end of the day, something is destroying the environment out here. Where theres a lot of hydrocarbons, theres a lot of bugs, thats what attracts them.
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