Truck slides, spills water from gas production near Rifle
RIFLE — Fourteen residences about 3 miles from the Kum & Go convenience store in south Rifle were without water most of Monday and until 5:15 a.m. Tuesday after a tanker truck hauling water thought to be a byproduct of natural gas production slid and spilled its contents on Beaver Creek Road near the city’s water treatment plant.
The truck, from Summit Trucking, was hauling the water for Memorial Resources, according to Kirby Wynn, oil and gas liaison for Garfield County. The truck apparently slid and tipped on its side on an icy road, according to Wynn.
The so-called produced water comes from oil and gas production and is removed from the ground. Wynn said in an email that samples were taken at the site to determine “what was in the water that spilled from the tanker, to define the extent of the spill and to inform the cleanup process.”
Rifle city officials said none of the tanker’s water ran into Beaver Creek, but water was shut off to the homes as a precaution.
The driver, Stephen Bedford, 54, of Grand Junction, escaped with minor injuries in the accident at about 9 a.m. and was not ticketed, the Colorado State Patrol said. The truck’s trailer slid off the road first and rolled, CSP said, ultimately causing the cab to tip over.
At least a couple of nearby residents have concerns about potential water contamination and the effect it might have on their livestock.
“We’re concerned about what it’s going to do to our water and the stock pond,” said Laurie Pressler, a local homeowner. “This is the only water supply to our animals.”
Terry Broughton is also a resident in the area and his livestock drink from Beaver Creek. While his water supply was shut off, his livestock continued to drink from the creek.
“What scares me is that (the city) can shut off the water supply, but they can’t shut off the creek,” Broughton said.
Broughton has 11 horses on his ranch.
Memorial Resources called and asked Broughton if he needed it to haul any water to his residence in the meantime.
“I’m OK,” he said. “I’ve got a 10,000-gallon holding tank that is good for me and the animals.”
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Out-of-town hunters descend in droves upon Rifle every year to navigate the rugged, Western Slope terrain as they try to bag their share of trophy elk.