State official: Produced water spill was handled correctly |

State official: Produced water spill was handled correctly

John Colson
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

PARACHUTE, Colorado – An environmental specialist for the state’s gas regulatory agency said Thursday the agency was properly notified concerning a Feb. 11 spill of gas well “produced water” west of here.

“Williams did make the proper verbal notification,” said Chris Canfield of the Rifle office of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). He was referring to WPX Energy, formerly part of Williams Production RMP.

A tanker truck belonging to Summit Energy Services slid out of control on Garfield County Road 300 (the Parachute-Una Road) on Feb. 11, spilling an estimated 500 gallons of liquid into a nearby ditch, according to Colorado State Patrol Trooper Kevin Rae.

Under the rules, the company was required to submit a verbal report of the spill within 24 or 48 hours of the incident, Canfield said, speaking from an office in Denver.

Because he did not have his log book, Canfield said he could not say exactly when the verbal report came in.

He also said he had no information concerning the volume of liquid spilled, beyond the initial estimate of 500 gallons.

Canfield said he had not yet seen a formal report from WPX Energy regarding the spill, but he noted that the company has until Feb. 21 to file the report, under COGCC rules.

Canfield, who was not available for comment until Thursday, also confirmed that Trooper Rae was correct in saying the contents of the tanker were not considered a hazardous waste under state rules.

“It is not a hazardous waste,” Canfield said, explaining that the fluid technically known as produced water is what comes up from a well bore alongside oil and gas.

It is made up mostly of brine, he said, and could possibly raise the salt content of the soil in the ditch, killing vegetation and making revegetation difficult.

“It’s possible that there could be hydrocarbons associated with it,” he said, such as oil, gas or other potentially toxic compounds found in the rock layers deep underground.

“As a precautionary measure,” Canfield said of the soils affected by the spill, “we will require that it be tested for hydrocarbons.”

Results from such tests could take up to four weeks before they are made public, he said.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.