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NOAV issued to drilling company

Phillip Yates
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Williams Production RMT apparently did not respond to state requests for information about a recent release of drilling waste west of Rifle because company officials thought its contractor would do so, a state official said Wednesday.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission issued a notice of alleged violation (NOAV) to Williams on Tuesday about four days after it notified the COGCC that about 80 barrels of waste flowed to a “dry drainage feature.”

The waste reportedly traveled between 300 yards and 400 yards down the drainage feature, according to the NOAV issued to the company.



The NOAV, which is the first step in a possible enforcement action, said that Williams did not respond to COGCC requests to identify the location of the release or for information concerning the nature of the waste that was released.

Debbie Baldwin, environmental manager for the COGCC, said Williams officials apparently thought its drilling contractor would complete a report detailing the extent of the release. That did not occur, she said.



“It is not an excuse. Williams should have reported it,” Baldwin said. “It is a serious event. We believe it is being taken care of, and that they now realize that they are not going to be able to rely on subcontractors. They need to do this reporting themselves.”

In response to the violation, state regulators are requiring that Williams draft a report identifying the location of release, the type and volume of the waste that was released, when it was allegedly transported to a disposal site, along with the name and location of where the waste was later put. That report is due by Friday, the NOAV shows.

Donna Gray, a spokeswoman for Williams, said the release was an action caused by one of its drilling contractors. The name of the contractor wasn’t immediately available late Wednesday.

“We are still doing remediation on it,” she said. “We are investigating it. We take this matter very seriously.”

The state has issued five NOAVs against Williams in connection with three other incidents that have occurred in Garfield County since May 30. Several other companies have received state citations for those occurrences as well.

Those incidents are still under investigation by state regulators and no definitive link connecting those incidents to any specific company has yet been found, Baldwin said.

COGCC staff issued a NOAV to Williams, along with three other natural gas operators after a spring northwest of Parachute was allegedly contaminated.

That reported contamination sent area resident Ned Prather to the hospital with throat problems after he drank water from his cabin’s faucet.

Water samples from a spring, faucet and pond at Prather’s cabin, which is located about six mile northwest of Parachute, showed traces of benzene that exceeded the state’s Water Quality Control Commission water standards. Benzene is a known carcinogen.

In mid-July, the COGCC issued more NOAVs to five companies, including Williams, after another spring on Prather’s property reportedly showed traces of benzene.

State regulators also issued a NOAV to Williams and Oxy USA for an alleged discharge of exploration and production waste that occurred around June 23 about nine miles northwest of Parachute.


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