Parachute Creek spill: Day 42

Trace amounts of benzene have been detected in multiple locations in Parachute Creek

Trace amounts of benzene have been detected in multiple locations in Parachute Creek


Benzene found in Parachute Creek

Benzene has been found in Parachute Creek for the first time since testing began in response to a natural gas liquids leak north of Parachute.

Williams said in a news release that the carcinogen was found Thursday at multiple locations, but in trace amounts below Environmental Protection Agency safe drinking water standards of 5 parts per billion.

Williams said an initial result came back Thursday showing a detection of 2.8 parts per billion. In response, Williams collected more samples farther downstream and they showed benzene at 1.8, 1.5 and 1.1 ppb.

Samples taken Thursday where Parachute diverts water for its irrigation supply showed no benzene. Williams said benzene floats on water, dissolves only slightly in it and evaporates quickly from the surface.

Williams said it is installing aeration technology to remove benzene below the detection point and has added an additional boom downstream of that point …


COGCC update — April 18, 2013

Here is an update on the situation at the Parachute Creek gas facility.

Lab results received by operators today, as well as real-time surface water sampling conducted today, found benzene in the waters of Parachute Creek at levels below the state drinking water standard of 5 parts per billion. This is the first time benzene has been detected in the stream.

Laboratory results received today on samples collected April 16 and April 17 from a point about 1,800 feet downstream from the above-ground valve set where a leak of natural gas liquids had been discovered found benzene at 2.7 parts per billion and 2.8 ppb, respectively.

In response to the laboratory sampling results received today, operators conducted real-time sampling at the same location using a field gas chromatograph. The real-time sample revealed a benzene concentration of 1.8 ppb. Benzene has not been detected in upstream samples within the area of investigation.

Due to the presence of benzene in the one surface water location described above, operators conducted real-time sampling downstream today. The first sample, collected 680 feet further downstream, revealed a benzene concentration of 1.5 ppb. Based on that result, an additional sample was collected at a point about 1,900 feet from the original surface water discovery. That sample found a benzene concentration of 1.1 ppb. Additional downstream sampling is ongoing.

Real-time samples taken at the point where the town of Parachute diverts water for its irrigation supply 2.7 miles downstream of the gas facility continued to show no detection of benzene.

Operators have notified numerous local, state and federal authorities of the findings today and are taking a number of immediate steps to address the benzene in the surface water.

Step one: Install an air-sparging system in the creek near the initial benzene detection. Step two: Install an air-sparging system in the creek 1,900 feet further downstream. Step three: Construct a groundwater interception trench adjacent to the creek near the first benzene detection.

The stream air-sparging systems will contain air diffusers designed to strip benzene from the water. The trench will be approximately 200 feet long and will contain an air-sparging barrier to strip benzene from the groundwater prior to the point where it’s believed groundwater enters the stream.

Preliminary water level measurements in the vicinity of the trench and initial surface water benzene detections indicate that in this area the stream elevation is lower than adjacent groundwater elevations. This suggests that in this area groundwater is flowing to the stream. Water level data upstream of this location continue to show higher water level elevations in the stream as compared to adjacent groundwater. This indicates that surface water continues to flow to groundwater in those areas.

The sample point in the stream where benzene was found is adjacent to the furthest downgradient groundwater sampling point where benzene has been detected in a monitoring well. The benzene in the groundwater there was detected at 440 ppb on a sample returned on April 15. On April 16, operators began sampling surface water adjacent to that well.

The COGCC, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency all remain engaged in developments at the site and are in communication with one another, and with operators.
[end of update]

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2 Comments on “Parachute Creek spill: Day 42”

  1. Fiona Lloyd Says:

    Color me sceptic. I just don’t believe them, not Williams, not the COGCC. The whole trust thing just doesn’t do it for me.

  2. Carl Mc Williams Says:

    Please recall when WILLIAMS (recently) made the claim that 80% of the hydrocarbon spill had evaporated?

    As you know, Registered Engineer Bob Arrington then challenged the 80% WILLIAMS evaporation claim and asserted there is possibly over 1,200 barrels of benzene containing hydrocarbon fluids that have migrated into (polluted) the Parachute Creek aquifer.

    Also please recall that Bob Arrington stated that the aquifer at some point charges (flows into) Parachute Creek, and then the COGCC and WILLIAMS both refuted Arrington’s claim!

    Now WILLIAMS and the COGCC disclose that scientific water analysis of Parachute Creek uncovers detectable amounts of benzene and that there is a point downstream from the hydrocarbon spill where the aquifer does-in-fact charge the creek!

    Fiona Lloyd is correct; the whole thing doesn’t pass the smell test.

    The COGCC and WILLIAMS are operating under the impunity of “moral hazard” and they are not worthy of the people’s trust.

    Beyond that, if you are a property owner or resident whose drinking water is in the pathway of the WILLIAMS benzene; ask yourself these questions:

    Where is Garfield County Commissioner Mike Samson in all this? Why is Commissioner Mike Samson MIA and hiding under his desk? Is the absence of Mike Samson demonstrative of his allegiance to the Oil & Gas Industry and an abdication of his constitutional duties to his Parachute constituents?

    Samson is real good at passing out tax-dollars to CLUB 20 and throwing the Sage Grouse under the bus; but Samson hasn’t shown any leadership whatsoever in stepping up for his constituents in the Parachute Creek benzene debacle.

    Carl Mc Williams
    Silt, Colorado

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