Parachute Creek spill: Day 25

This aerial view was captured in a flyover provided by EcoFlight. It depicts the Parachute Creek leak site looking east shows orange fencing that indicates trenched areas associated with the ongoing investigation, as well as part of the pipeline corridor where 6,000 gallons of liquid hydrocarbons were recovered. Pipelines in the corridor cross under the creek. (Photo by Christopher Tomlinson)

This aerial view was captured in a flyover provided by EcoFlight. It depicts the Parachute Creek leak site looking east shows orange fencing that indicates trenched areas associated with the ongoing investigation, as well as part of the pipeline corridor where 6,000 gallons of liquid hydrocarbons were recovered. Pipelines in the corridor cross under the creek. (Photo by Christopher Tomlinson)

State, feds, industry say benzene was to be expected
Compound said to evaporate quickly; precautions taken at spill site

What did we learn today? Well, the EPA – the feds – and the CDPHE – the state – aren’t really all that concerned about the Parachute Creek spill-plume-leak-seep. Or the fact that nobody knows the source or the extent of the environmental devastation. We don’t actually know if the “flow” to the “plume” has stopped – only that it has diminished. The  COGCC is “sort of” keeping them informed of the situation and apparently that’s ok with them.

Special alert: This is not an April Fool’s joke. I repeat, this is NOT an April Fool’s joke.

Read the article. The CDPHE doesn’t want to get involved. The EPA wants to wait-and-see. They expected to find benzene.

And, oh yeah, “Benzene evaporates quickly in the air.”

Then what happens? The ATSDR (Agency for Toxic Substances & Disease Registry) says:

Benzene can pass into air from water and soil surfaces. Once in the air, benzene reacts with other chemicals and breaks down within a few days. Benzene in the air can also be deposited on the ground by rain or snow.

Benzene in water and soil breaks down more slowly. Benzene is slightly soluble in water and can pass through the soil into underground water.

I suppose as long as the COGCC and Williams claim Parachute Creek doesn’t show signs of contamination, the CDPHE can maintain a hands off posture. However it seems fairly odd that the Environmental Protection Agency would assume such a passive role in an environmental disaster.

Click here for KDNK coverage of Parachute Creek spill

To date:

Last week, water tests from three monitoring wells, about 30 feet from Parachute Creek, showed benzene levels ranging from 5,800 parts per billion to 18,000 ppb in a well closest to a trench dug to recover contaminated water and oil. The state health standard for benzene is 5 ppb.

Williams crew workers are hand drilling another set of monitoring wells approximately 10 feet from Parachute Creek to further address groundwater impacts.

Workers continue excavation under a valve box which has been a focus of the investigation into the source of the ongoing leak of hydrocarbon liquids into an underground plume near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Processing Plant.

According to Williams, the flow of water that is forming the toxic plume has slowed as of Friday.

Almost 180,000 gallons of contaminated groundwater and about 6,000 gallons of hydrocarbons have been recovered.

Governor Hickenlooper has not commented publicly on or visited the site of the Parachute Creek environmental disaster.

Garfield County Commissioners have not yet commented publicly on or visited the site. Oil & Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn has visited the site.

Members of the media have not been allowed in to the site.

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One Comment on “Parachute Creek spill: Day 25”

  1. Robert Winkler Says:

    You need to ask the company executives and government officials if they want to live there, breathe the air and drink the contaminated water.

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