Parachute Creek spill: Day 26

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)

KKCO-11 News: The deadly potential of benzene

The discovery of benzene within 30 feet of Parachute Creek brings back chilling memories for Silt resident Lisa Bracken …

Previous leaks suspected in Parachute hydrocarbon probe

“The investigation to date has not identified an active source; the situation suggests to COGCC investigators the possibility there may have been historic releases in the vicinity of the valve set and the recovery trench that occurred over a period of time. That is … (a) focus of COGCC’s efforts,” [COGCC spokesman Todd] Hartman said.

Another document dump –

The Potentiometric Surface Map shows water levels, direction of groundwater flow and location of monitoring wells.

Potentiometric Surface Map 3-27-2013

COGCC Surface Water Sample Analytical Results
ALS Environmental Analytical Results through 3-29-2013    
Email Correspondence Re: WPX Bradenhead Monitoring Results
Email Correspondence Re: Sampling Plan for Valve Set Box

Email Correspondence Re: Monitoring Well Approval
[If you get an Adobe Reader update message when you click on this file, click on “Open With Different Viewer” in upper right corner]

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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4 Comments on “Parachute Creek spill: Day 26”

  1. Bob Arrington Says:

    As Carl McWilliams points out in a recent email, the COGCC reported the benzene concentration as 18,000 ppb and this is 18 ppm. Concerned about worker safety, he goes on to ask the question, “I may sound paranoid or just skeptical; but ask yourself this question: Why did the COGCC report the benzene levels in the billions (ppb) instead of the millions (ppm)? “ He lists the link and adds a listing of abbreviations used:
    NOTE: IDLH = “Immediate danger to life and health”. PEL = “Permissible Exposure Limits”, TWA = “Time Weighted Average” and STEL = “Short Term Exposure Limit”. He also adds the NIOSH note:
    Revised IDLH: 500 ppm
    Basis for revised IDLH: The revised IDLH for benzene is 500 ppm based on acute inhalation
    [Note: NIOSH recommends as part of its carcinogen policy that the “most protective” respirators be worn for benzene at concentrations above 0.1 ppm.
    toxicity data in humans [Gerarde 1960].

    But this story indicates that Williams is throwing in the towel as to locating a source saying it may be past spillage or whatever. I would offer them a suggestion:
    If the valve on the liquids line is not leaking now, maybe it was in the cold weather. The valve, by the picture I viewed is mounted on an above ground riser. If this line proceeds straight from this offset, the cold temperatures can contract the line and put stress on the valve flanges. This could cause a weather induced drip that “cures” itself when temperatures become warmer. The offset works as an expansion joint and temperature ranges cause flex movement. Just saying —

  2. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    When you listen to Lisa Bracken relive her benzene nightmare one understands that benzene in your backyard is a deadly intruder. Karen and I had no idea that Ms. Bracken lost her father to cancer causing benzene, by drinking water from Divide Creek that ran through the Bracken property right here in Garfield County.

    The COGCC states Parachute Creek itself is not contaminated with benzene. But the aquifer beneath Parachute Creek is certainly contaminated with benzene from the WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM pollution. What is the difference to the homeowners whose wells are fed by the Parachute Creek aquifer? DEADLY BENZENE IN YOUR WELL WATER OR DEADLY BENZENE IN THE CREEK?

    Furthermore, if you peruse the “ALS Laboratory” results where the 18,000 ppb of benzene was first publicly disclosed (link above) one fact stands out! ALS LABORATORY received the samples for analysis from WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM on 23-March-2013 @ 10:35 a.m. and was able to finish the report just five (5) days later on 28-March-2013.

    Yet according to all of the newspaper reports and Peggy’s blog, WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM discovered the hydrocarbon plume on 3-March-2013, fifteen days before WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM eventually sent the samples to ALS LABORATORY for analysis!

    What happened during those first fifteen days?

    This was the two week period when the property owners along Parachute Creek were kept in the dark by the government of the discovery of the hydrocarbon plume! Where is the “government transparency” in keeping the cattle ranchers along Parachute Creek in the dark for two weeks?

    Another concern is what date did the WILLIAMS employees, (who are are being exposed to the benzene), receive protective haz-mat equipment? Were these WILLIAMS employees thoroughly trained in OSHA haz-mat procedures? What type of respirators were these WILLIAMS employees given? Were the respirators “NEGATIVE-AIR”?

    Methinks there is a major cover-up underway by WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM.

  3. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    Now that Bob Arrington has pointed out my intense concern for the health and safety of the WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM benzene impacted workers; given the fact the ALS LABORATORY analysis irrefutably documents there is a fifteen (15) day delay between WILLIAMS reporting the discovery of the benzene hydrocarbon plume to the COGCC and finally submitting samples to ALS LABORATORY; the question becomes: What were the benzene (C6H6) concentrations in the hydrocarbon plume at the beginning of the clean-up on March 8, 2013?

    Think about it: (1) WILLIAMS discovers the hydrocarbon spill and knows it has a real problem to deal with. (2) COGCC rules demands that WILLIAMS report the discovery of the plume and WILLIAMS does so on March 8, (3) WILLIAMS then takes two full weeks to vacuum up the benzene containing fluids, (4) In doing so, WILLIAMS removes the heavily concentrated benzene evidence from the site and cleans-up the site as best they can and then, (5) Under pressure from the media the COGCC finally orders WILLIAMS to submit samples to ALS LABORATORY (6) Yet fifteen days later the samples contain significantly lower concentrations of benzene, because the intense concentrations of benzene have been transported to some injection well and buried deep in the earth. (7) WILLIAMS is able to cover-up the deadly concentrations of benzene that have previously leached into the Parachute Creek aquifer.

    QUESTION: During the fifteen (15) “phantom days”, when WILLIAMS employees vacuumed up the hydrocarbon plume and before WILLIAMS submitted samples for scientific analysis; did the concentrations of benzene reach the IDLH = “Immediate danger to life and health”. PEL = “Permissible Exposure Limits”, and STEL = “Short Term Exposure Limits” as specified by NATIONAL INSTITUTE for OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH (NIOSH) of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta?

    Federal OSHA needs to leave the comfort of their cushy-cubicles in Denver and come to Garfield County and interview the WILLIAMS MIDSTREAM workers and determine what date the workers were issued haz/mat protective equipment?

    Furthermore, the Garfield County Oil & Gas Liaison, Kirby Wynn, is MIA on this issue and the Garfield County Commissioners should be stepping up on behalf of the cattle ranchers along Parachute Creek and conducting a local government investigation into exactly what happened!!! The Parachute Creek aquifer has been polluted by WILLIAMS and its benzene. Justice and duty demands much more from Commissioners Mike Samson, John Martin and Tom Jankovsky then simply hiding under their desks.

  4. Sonja Linman Says:

    I am outraged that our leadership is silent.
    Outraged that they are idle.

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