Parachute Creek spill: Day 63

Parachute Creek industrial zone

Parachute Creek industrial zone

Ever since this whole Parachute Creek spill situation unfolded, the one thing that has never ceased to amaze me is the arrogance of the industry. In this case – Williams – and by association WPX Energy. The article in today’s Daily Sentinel really shows you who they are.

Williams delays gas plant expansion
Sluggish market stalls $200 million project, firm says

Williams has suspended construction on a $200 million addition to its natural gas processing facility outside Parachute, in a move it says has nothing to do with a leak from a pipeline there and everything to do with sluggish local drilling levels …

Yes, people, Williams thinks we’re all deaf, dumb, and blind. The gas plant expansion wasn’t delayed because of the Parachute Creek spill because they were pretty sure they could find 80 desperate, temporary construction workers who would risk their lives to dig into the ground and lay pipeline in a contamination zone. Be sure to note this line: “The company didn’t plan to increase plant employment due to the expansion.”

So it wasn’t 80 permanent new jobs. Just 80 temporary, exposure-to-toxic-contaminants-on-a-daily-basis jobs.

And don’t let the numbers in the article fool you. Smoke and mirrors. All they’re saying is that new drilling permits are down from the previous 2 years and so are new well starts.

Here are some numbers that really matter. In 2004, there were 1,669 active wells in Garfield County. In 2009, that number more than doubled to about 4,000 active wells. As of last count in March 2013, there are 10,167 active wells in Garfield County.  In the past 4 years the number of active wells has more than doubled. And production is way, way up.

So the market is sluggish? Whatever. Then stop drilling. We are inundated with gas wells – and toxins.

Take a look at the numbers for yourself:  The Energy Industry and the Garfield County Economy – March 2013

Want to know who tops the chart of GarCo’s Top Taxpayers? That’s right. WPX Energy [WPX and Williams were once the same company] weighs in at a whopping $894,786,370 in 2012 assessed value [page 27]. Check out the revenues for the county’s 2013 budget [page 34]. Revenues from property taxes on oil & gas industry and production together total $66,608,615 of the county’s $107,938,349 budget for 2013.

No wonder John Martin, Tom Jankovsky, Mike Samson, Kirby Wynn and Drew Gorgey practically genuflect in the presence of Williams. And they think we should, too. ¿Que bono? Who benefits?


Water sampling test results at Williams Answers for Parachute website:  Testing Results & Other Info

CDPHE Update — May 9, 2013

The Work Plan for Interim Remedy Response Actions document, describing proposed upgrades to the existing groundwater treatment system in the vicinity of sample point CS-6, was submitted by Williams to EPA and CDPHE for review and approval.

Creek surface water samples / benzene levels:

Parachute Creek Surface Water Samples
Location                    Monday Readings (5/7/13)     Tuesday Readings (5/8/13)
CS6                                          4.7 ppb                                              4.5 ppb
CS7                                          1.4 ppb                                               1.4 ppb
CS8                                          1.1 ppb                                                1.0 ppb
CS9                                       Non-detect                                       Non-detect
CS10                                    Non-detect                                       Non-detect
CS11                                     Non-detect                                       Non-detect
Town of Parachute       Non-detect                                        Non-detect

One new recovery well – 2A – was installed on Tuesday to recover hydrocarbons from the soil.

Installation of vertical air sparge wells intended to enhance treatment of benzene in groundwater has been completed. Work is in progress to now connect the vertical sparge wells to the blower motor. The groundwater aeration/sparge trench remains in operation after installation of a larger capacity blower intended to enhance groundwater treatment.

On Tuesday, May 7, all of the creek containment booms were replaced with fresh ones.

Sampling began this week of the contaminated groundwater that has been stored since being extracted as part of hydrocarbon recovery operations. This “waste characterization” sampling will provide the information needed to properly treat and dispose of the accumulated ground water.
[end of update]


CDPHE is accepting questions and comments from the public. Call or send your questions to:

David Walker, Hazardous Waste Corrective Action Project Manager
(303) 692-3354
Or toll free 1(888) 569-1831, Ext 3354

Hazardous Materials and Waste Mgmt Division
Colorado Dept of Public Health and Environment
4300 Cherry Creek Dr. S.
Denver, CO 80246

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2 Comments on “Parachute Creek spill: Day 63”

  1. Anita Sherman Says:

    Add our “Frackaholic” Gov, and we’re all being corn holed.

  2. Fiona Lloyd Says:

    Thanks, Peggy.

    Stinky stinky oil and gas. And I don’t just mean the toxic fumes.

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