Parachute Creek Spill: Day 37

Parachute Creek looking north from the bridge in downtown Parachute

Parachute Creek remains at risk for benzene contamination as contaminated groundwater makes its way downstream

Benzene found 1,400 feet from leak site northwest of Parachute

High benzene levels in groundwater have been detected about 1,400 feet downstream of the presumed source of a hydrocarbons leak northwest of Parachute, the state Department of Natural Resources said today.

That’s the farthest such reported detection from the site, as the area of known contamination continues to grow ….

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Diesel has reached gates to Parachute’s drinking water reservoir

*Please note*
According to the April 15 COGCC update, the Parachute town administrator said the town does not use water diverted for irrigation for its drinking water supply.

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COGCC update — April 12, 2013

A new monitoring well roughly 1,400 feet downstream of the primary investigation area and about 10 feet from the north bank of Parachute Creek found benzene in the groundwater at 340 parts per billion.

In roughly the same area, operators installed six new monitoring points. These are on the north and east side of the creek as it bends. They continued drilling test holes for the purposes of screening soils for hydrocarbons, an activity they’ve been conducting regularly.

Operators continued pumping from small trenches dug along the north side of the creek to enhance groundwater flow away from Parachute Creek. This is similar to the action conducted at the recovery trench earlier in the response. Some hydrocarbon product was recovered during this process Friday, though operators are still measuring the volume.

Surface water samples taken April 6 and 7 at the point about two miles downstream where the town of Parachute diverts water for an irrigation reservoir returned today showing 0.71 and 0.49 parts per million of Diesel Range Organics (DRO). As reported to you yesterday, a surface water sample taken April 7, 800 feet upstream of the source investigation area, showed 0.73 ppm of DRO. Five sampling points concentrated in the area of the investigation, and another just upstream, showed no detection of DRO on the same dates.

There are several industrial sites along Parachute Creek between the source investigation area and the downstream sample point where Parachute diverts irrigation water. Williams is analyzing samples collected at the diversion point using a field gas chromatograph, which allows for real-time, on-site analysis of water samples.

The COGCC remains in close communication with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about this situation.
[end of update]

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