Oil spill cleanup goes on | PostIndependent.com

Oil spill cleanup goes on

Post Independent Photo/Kelley CoxHeavy equipment skims contaminated soil from a pasture six miles up Dry Hollow Road Tuesday morning. The contamination of the pasture and roadsides was the result of an overturned tanker Monday. EnCana's environmental coordinator Kim Kaal, left, oversees the reclamation effort, along with two men from Cordilleran Compliance Services of Grand Junction.

Cleanup of a crude oil spill on Dry Hollow Road south of Silt continued Tuesday as crews scooped up contaminated topsoil and took samples to determine what toxic chemicals might be present.

The spill occurred six miles up Dry Hollow Road around noon Monday. A truck owned by Basin Western of Roosevelt, Utah, ran off the right side of the road, then overcorrected and overturned, according to Matt Drymon, of Colorado State Patrol Hazardous Materials.

The driver of the truck, who is from Grand Junction, was transported to Grand Valley Medical Center in Rifle for observation and released, said Basin Western president Lloyd Dean.

Cleanup is expected to continue through Thursday and possibly Friday, Dean said.

Drymon confirmed the presence of benzene, a volatile organic compound in crude oil and a known carcinogen, in the spill. Although a materials data sheet from the truck listed only a trace of benzene, Drymon said, further soil testing will determine the exact percentage. Testing results will be reported to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Drymon said benzene is the big worry.

County Road 331, also known as Dry Hollow Road, was closed from noon to 7 p.m., said Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, who owns property close to the spill.

A total of 60.25 barrels, or about 2,530 gallons, of crude oil, a byproduct of natural gas drilling, were spilled, Dean said. Basin Western hauls crude oil, also known as condensate, from gas wells to buyers who sell the byproduct. On Monday, the truck was hauling condensate from an EnCana well.

“While we do not have direct responsibility for the cleanup, we feel a social responsibility to ensure that it is fully and properly remediated,” EnCana spokesman Doug Hock said. EnCana was also on site Tuesday.

Basin Western has contracted with Advanced Oil Field Services of Rifle to perform the cleanup. Cordilleran Compliance Services of Grand Junction has also been hired to take soil samples, which then will be tested for hazardous chemicals. Contaminated soil is being trucked to an oil field disposal site 20 miles north of Craig, Dean said.

“EnCana is consulting and ensuring there is proper remediation,” Hock said. “Fumes from the spill, which have dissipated, pose no hazard. Nearby livestock are being fenced out of the area. Soil in the area is being excavated in order to ensure there is no impact to water resources. Traffic may be impacted as cleanup will necessitate some blockage of the road.”

Gary Gagne, who lives at 6539 County Road 331, said Tuesday the spill “has gotten bigger and worse than it appeared yesterday.”

His property was not harmed by the spill, he acknowledged.

“Something has to change about how the gas industry does business,” he added. “All they’ve done is destroy our property values.”

Contact Donna Gray: 945-8515, ext. 510


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