Little change in Parachute Creek hydrocarbon spill |

Little change in Parachute Creek hydrocarbon spill

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – There has been little change in a plume of an oil-like substance spilled from an unknown source into the ground alongside Parachute Creek, according to representatives of the Williams Midstream natural gas company.

According to the company, the substance, which has yet to be identified, had not reached Parachute Creek as of Wednesday afternoon.

Donna Gray, a spokeswoman for the company, wrote in an email that Williams’ work crews are still searching for the source of what are known as “hydrocarbon liquids.”

Since Tuesday, Gray wrote, the work crews had pulled a total of 143 barrels of hydrocarbons out of the soil using special vacuum trucks, or four more than the total was on Tuesday. That is equal to more than 6,000 gallons of liquid hydrocarbons pulled from the soil.

Gray also confirmed that the liquids have contaminated “the soil within a Williams pipeline right of way near its Parachute Creek natural gas processing plant.”

State regulators have issued notices of alleged violations against Williams and WPX Energy as they try to determine the source of the liquid hydrocarbons.

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) staff issued the notices Wednesday.

The plume was discovered on March 8 by Williams crews digging in the area in preparation for building an addition to the processing plant.

The spill was reported that day to the COGCC, as required by law, but nothing was posted on the COGCC website until after news stories about the matter began to appear, beginning with a story on March 16 in The Denver Post.

The COGCC is the state’s oversight agency concerning oil and gas drilling in Colorado.

By the end of the business day on March 19, several emails related to the discovery of the plume and a “cease and desist order” from COGCC to Williams were posted on the COGCC website.

Gray wrote that Williams “has been using multiple vacuum trucks to remove a mix of hydrocarbon, soil and water around the clock,” overseen by officials from the COGCC as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

As of mid-afternoon on Tuesday, she reported, only one vacuum truck was at the site.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report

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