Still no findings in Prather contamination case near Parachute |

Still no findings in Prather contamination case near Parachute

John Colson
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

PARACHUTE, Colorado ” The source of a chemical contamination of a spring northwest of Parachute, which reportedly sent a man to the hospital in 2008, has yet to be determined, a state official said on Thursday.

Dave Neslin, director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said the commission is still looking into the issue, and that he could not estimate how long it may be before there is a finding in the case.

Based on a complaint filed by Ned Prather, an area guide and outfitter, in May 2008, the COGCC issued notices of alleged violation about suspicions that one or more companies may have discharged waste that polluted Prather’s spring. The companies being investigated are Nonsuch Natural Gas, Marathon Oil Co., Williams Production RMT and Petroleum Development Corp.

Prather reported that the contamination sent him to the hospital with throat problems after he drank water from a faucet at his cabin.

Testing of the spring that feeds Prather’s cabin revealed benzene, ethylbenzene, trimethylbenzene, xylene and toluene, said attorney Richard Djokic, who represents Prather. He said testing of a second spring to the west found the same “chemical cocktail,” minus the toluene.

The energy companies involved delivered a water supply to Prather’s cabin and constructed a fence around the impacted spring and pond to keep livestock and wildlife away, according to earlier reports on the case.

Neslin said the case “raises potentially complex issues about determining causation and fault, and those can take some time to sort out.”

Djokic said in February that Prather seemed to have recovered from the throat problems, but was concerned about potential long-term effects from the incident.

Contact John Colson: 970-429-9143

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