Parachute residents fear irrigation water poisoned
Grand Junction Correspondent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
PARACHUTE, Colorado ” Spring has arrived and the town of Parachute will be turning on its irrigation water April 15.
Unfortunately, some area residents fear the water is unsafe to use since learning about four separate spills from two oil and gas companies’ storage pits. The spills occurred between November and February.
More than a million gallons of waste water has poured into an area known as “Garden Gulch” north of Parachute, according to Western Colorado Congress.
The spill has been frozen in a huge waterfall that is now starting to melt as the temperatures rise. The fluids are flowing directly into West Parachute Creek ” a source of irrigation water for many landowners and the entire town of Parachute.
Livestock are currently drinking from the creek, said Liz Chandler, a large animal veterinarian from nearby New Castle.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is investigating the spills but
landowners say little information has been shared with them regarding the spill.
Deb Frazier, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation
Commission, recently told the Glenwood Springs Post Independent that the agency is
working to determine the volume of the spills and their chemical composition.
Sid Lindauer, a rancher who lives near Parachute Creek, is worried.
“So far the state has not told us what is in the wastewater and what threat it could
pose to my livestock,” he said.
Chandler said she’s frustrated that the industry is not required to disclose the
chemicals it uses in the drilling processes.
“Until the company tells us what’s in the fluids, we don’t know what to test for,”
Environmental groups have long pushed for full disclosure of the chemicals used in
the industry’s operations.
“Oil and gas companies are really fighting that, arguing it’s proprietary information,”
Chandler said giving out the ingredient list is not the same as giving out the recipe.
“It’s about public safety,” Chandler said.
“The companies need to tell the (COGCC) what the chemicals are. The commission
needs to test West Parachute Creek for the presence of those chemicals, and tell the
downstream users if it’s safe or not,” Chandler said.
Eventually, West Parachute Creek ends up in the Colorado River.
Reach Sharon Sullivan at email@example.com.
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