Parachute Creek spill: Day 20

This photo was taken from CR 215, north of Parachute. The orange area to the left of the building is the spill site. The media has not been allowed beyond this point.

This photo was taken from CR 215, north of Parachute. The orange area to the left of the building is the spill site. The media has not been allowed beyond the point from which I took this photo.

Update:  Bob Arrington responds to statement in latest COGCC  update

Bob Arrington is a retired engineer and the Battlement Mesa citizen representative on Garfield County’s Energy Advisory Board (EAB). He also represents the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance and the Battlement Concerned Citizens.

In today’s update [see below] COGCC spokesman Todd Hartman made this statement: “Based on preliminary water level data from monitoring wells, bore holes and Parachute Creek, groundwater flows away from the creek toward the recovery trench. In short, the creek serves to recharge groundwater as opposed to groundwater feeding the creek.”

Bob Arrington responds:

“This latest blurb of stream recharges ground water propaganda is just that.

“At any cross-section of the valley, the stream is the low point. All moisture going onto surrounding ground flows toward the stream and down valley. The stream can saturate ground in the stream bottom outward until pressure of surrounding ground water equals water level of stream. If you dig a trench in the ground bordering a stream laden with ground water, you will strike water at stream level or slightly higher depending on upstream meanders and recent moisture on ground and valley walls. The water will pour into your trench from both sides and the bottom seeking its head level (pressure balance). The flow of the water for both the stream and the ground water is down valley toward the river that stream is running to. The hydrocarbon liquids follow the path of ground waters coming from valley walls and those hydrocarbon liquids will tend to “float” on the water where it interfaces. However, depending on the hydrocarbons, the BTEXs have a more soluble nature to their molecular structure and can interface with the water. So as long as there is ground water contact with the hydrocarbons, unless a coffer dam is built to lowest level of groundwater, it is impossible to stop the flow of hydrocarbons and ground water downstream. This also involves piping upstream stream water over/past the cofferdam.

“This is the same dilemma facing the Suncor clean-up [of the South Platte River] on the front range.

“What they are hoping and doing right now is a reduction of hydrocarbons such that dispersion will dilute below danger levels — it will not prevent some downstream contamination!”

[end of Bob Arrington’s response]

**********

Update from COGCC spokesman Todd Hartman:

The current focus is on a valve box for a pipeline carrying natural gas liquids away from the Parachute Creek gas plant. The soil around the valve box is saturated with hydrocarbons. Williams continues to conduct cautious investigation in an active pipeline environment.

[Corresponds to COGCC public documents]:

Valve set work plan

Approval of valve set work plan

Williams continues to collect impacted groundwater from recovery trenches. Although a sheen of hydrocarbon has been observed, no measureable amounts of liquid hydrocarbons have been collected since reports late last week. The current total is 143 barrels, similar to the volume collected as of last Thursday.

A newly drilled monitoring well between the recovery trench and Parachute Creek contains liquid hydrocarbons on the surface of the groundwater.

[Corresponds to COGCC public documents]

Williams’ Approval Request for Monitoring Wells

COGCC Approval of Initial MW Locations

Proposed Well Locations 032313

Proposed Well Locations 032313_rev630pm (1)

Based on preliminary water level data from monitoring wells, bore holes and Parachute Creek, groundwater flows away from the creek toward the recovery trench. In short, the creek serves to recharge groundwater as opposed to groundwater feeding the creek. Ongoing sampling of Parachute Creek, as well as visual patrols, has not detected any contamination.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission staff has maintained an intensive, ongoing field presence at the location since first responding to reports of affected groundwater on March 15. The COGCC on March 22 also collected its own water samples from Parachute Creek for analysis and we anticipate being able to make those results available by the end of the week.

The Notice of Alleged Violation issued to both Williams and WPX on March 20 require the companies to “identify and evaluate all potential receptors of surface water and groundwater within a one-mile radius” of the activity area.

To address a frequently asked question: COGCC has jurisdiction over exploration and production waste; that waste can include material released from gathering lines. Gathering lines carry raw gas and associated liquids to processing plants.

The COGCC and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are participating in daily conference call briefings with Williams and WPX.
[end of Hartman update]

**********

To date approximately 153,600 gallons of contaminated water have been removed from the site.

Above-ground valve may be source of leak, says Williams
Officials: ‘Creek has not been impacted’

The pipeline excavation mentioned in this article corresponds to these COGCC public documents:

30 Inch Pipeline Excavation Work Plan

COGCC Approval of 30 inch pipeline excavation work plan (2)

**********

Take the Post Independent poll!

What worries you the most about the hydrocarbon plume near Parachute Creek?
So far, in order of concern:

  • Inability to determine the location of the leak.
  •  Lack of transparency on the part of the industry.
  •  Its proximity to Parachute Creek.
  •  Lack of transparency on the part of the COGCC.
  • The two-week delay in identifying the hydrocarbon substance.

Less than 200 people have voted. What are you concerned about?

Take the poll

**********

The GVCA and the media continue to call on residents and workers in the Parachute area to come forward with any information. Every effort will be taken to ensure confidentiality. Or, you can email me: peggyt@siltnet.net

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One Comment on “Parachute Creek spill: Day 20”

  1. Leslie Robinson Says:

    Let us not forget to protect the health of O&G workers at the clean-up site. Mysterious hydrocarbon chemicals, unidentified cause, unknown seep boundaries, and yet, it took two weeks for the dispensary of respirators to work crews at the Parachute Plume.

    http://www.gjsentinel.com/news/articles/liquid-gas-products-line-eyed-in-parachutearea-lea

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