Parachute Creek spill: Day 53

Parachute signSlow news day in anticipation of tonight’s meeting. I talked to GarCo O&G liaison Kirby Wynn on Friday (4/26). He said he planned to distribute most of the questions from the list below to the meeting participants in advance. So if you would like to keep score at tonight’s meeting, just print out the questions below and bring them with you. Kirby also said after the meeting, he will eventually post the Q&As at the Community Resources page.

You’ve probably noticed the ticker on the upper right side of the page. Below the ticker you will find a quick link to all posts related to the Parachute Creek spill.

With the change in jurisdiction from the COGCC to the CDPHE, the focus also changes. The obvious issue is water quality–contaminated groundwater, benzene in Parachute Creek, protecting water wells and the Colorado River, etc. The not-so-obvious issue is air quality. Benzene evaporates quickly into the air, but it is heavier than air and is likely to sink into low-lying areas. Therefore we can assume that the residents of Parachute and the surrounding area have already been exposed to benzene in the air. And depending on which way the wind blows, everyone living up and down the Colorado River basin is at risk for benzene exposure from the air.

Get involved in citizen action regarding the Parachute Creek spill. Join the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance. The dedicated members of this well-respected organization are at the forefront of the effort to protect public health and the environment in the wake of this environmental disaster.

I am a member, too, and we need your help! We have much work to do. I can testify that citizen action gives you a great feeling of accomplishment. Please donate and volunteer today!

As we have all come to realize in the past six weeks, the Parachute Creek spill is going to be with us for a long time. But I can’t keep up these daily updates forever. I have no clue how I’ve kept up for this long. I’m going to need a “fresh air vacation.” I just read that phrase in an article about air pollution in China—can’t remember where—probably HuffPo. The Chinese have accepted that living with bad air quality means taking fresh air vacations. It’s both funny and sad. But I like the phrase and I’m going to borrow it and make good use of it.

In the near future you will notice the daily updates change to not-so-daily updates. The frequency will depend on the news and information that’s available and whether or not I’m near a computer. When I do post an update, the title will still be Parachute Creek spill: Day whatever, and labeled with the yellow toxic warning sign. Not to worry, I’m not taking my eyes off the situation, I’m just going to take a break every now and then.

Now you will be able to catch up on any news you missed by clicking on Parachute Creek spill link to the right.


Garfield County plans community meeting in Parachute

Monday, April 29, 2013
6:00 p.m.
Grand Valley Fire Protection District Building
0124 Stone Quarry Road
Parachute, CO

Click here for driving directions

For more information go to Community Resources.


Williams Answers for Parachute website is now posting water sample results at Testing Results & Other Info

Also at Upcoming Presentations, note that Williams will also be making a presentation at the EAB Meeting, Thursday, May 2



[Note: You can also submit your questions in advance of the Monday meeting to Kirby Wynn, GarCo O&G liaison at:]

What happened to the Dept of Wildlife? We haven’t heard much from them since mid-March. Shouldn’t they be involved with these other agencies in this process?

Does the standard of 5300 ppb for a non-drinking water stream protect the trout?

Is Williams using any sort of dispersant, or introducing any additional substance or chemical to the contamination site or the creek in their efforts to deal with the benzene and other NGLs already present?

What about the benzene clean-up workers?

Were the workers given benzene awareness training prior to beginning work at Parachute Creek?

Were the workers given self-contained supplied air respirators and proper training on the use of the respirators before the benzene clean-up work began at Parachute Creek?

Why isn’t the federal OSHA invited to the public meeting on April 29?

Do the Garfield County Commissioners care about these exposed workers, or are these workers nothing more than “well-field trash?”

Why haven’t we heard anything from Garfield County BOCC?

Garfield County has oil & gas mitigation funds. Are they in contact with and working with local landowners along Parachute Creek to mitigate the impacts of this environmental disaster?

Is anyone testing water wells downstream from the groundwater contamination plume?

Who is safeguarding the interests of the public?

If 80% of the benzene evaporated into the air, wouldn’t the air monitors at the nearby gas processing plant have sounded an alarm? Are they monitoring air quality?

Have they tested for BTEX compounds? If not, why not?

Is Williams using any sort of dispersant, or introducing any other substance or chemical to contamination site or the creek?

What are the real benzene numbers, not those provided by the COGCC, or Williams, or the testing companies that they retained when they swooped into the valley? How about some independent testing?

When will Williams be fined? And how much?

How are they going to clean up this mess? What’s the plan?

I invite you to submit your questions in the comments section. Or send your questions to:

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2 Comments on “Parachute Creek spill: Day 53”

  1. Karen Sedillo Says:

    Thanks for your diligent attention to this issue. I’ve been watching the papers but the swill that comes from the mouths of the gas and oil industry and our county commissioners makes me ill – I can only read so much at a time knowing that very little of it is factual. I have my doubts about Mr. Wynn as well.
    Thanks again!

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