Parachute leak slows; residents still concerned

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The hydrocarbon leak near Parachute Creek may be slowing down, according to state officials.

Colorado Department of Natural Resources reported just two barrels of hydrocarbons were removed from the site during the day on Wednesday, compared with 72 barrels removed on Monday.

“Things are in better shape, the amount of hydrocarbon and oil being removed is down significantly,” said Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman. “We think they’re doing a good, thorough and aggressive job trying to get to the source.”

Colorado Department of Natural Resources issued Williams Energy and WPX Energy a Notice of Alleged Violation.

“Clearly having liquid hydrocarbons intermingle with ground water is a violation of our rules,” Hartman said.

Though the Notice of Alleged Violation doesn’t carry any fines, it requires the operators to locate and test all surface or ground water within a one-mile radius that might be linked to the leak.

Though state officials and Williams Energy officials maintain that no hydrocarbons have reached Parachute Creek, which stands 60 feet from the leak, Parachute resident Claire Codling said she isn’t convinced.

“We’re just too near the creek,” said Codling. “With all the oil and gas already up there its hard to image it won’t affect the water supply.”
Crews from Williams Energy discovered the hydrocarbons while doing trenching operations on March 8, according to Williams’ spokesperson Donna Gray.

Williams officials reported the leak to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission the same day it was found. Since then, hydrovacuum trucks have been on-site, removing the hydrocarbons and contaminated groundwater.

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