CDPHE: No impact to vegetation around Parachute Creek

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

PARACHUTE, Colo. (KKCO) -- State health officials say they’re not concerned about recent water samples indicating a benzene concentration in Parachute Creek above the state health standard for drinking water.

Sample results from May 1st detected 5.3 ppb of benzene, above the drinking water standard of 5 ppb.

Mark Salley, spokesperson for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said the sample is just one of many other samples which detected benzene below the drinking water standard, which is why he said it isn’t of great concern.

“A single sample at a single site out of numerous samples that have been taken for weeks does not change the characterization of the site,” Salley said.

Parachute Creek is not a drinking water source, but it flows into the Colorado River which is a source of drinking water for many Western Slope residents. Salley said because the river is downstream several miles from the area of contamination, the benzene gets diluted in the water.

David Walker, Environmental Protection Specialist with CDPHE said benzene concentrations are not high enough to impact vegetation.

According to the Compliance Advisory issued to Williams on Wednesday from CDPHE, 17 sample locations of ground water have detected benzene levels above 5 ppb. The Compliance Advisory citied Williams for one violation of illegal disposal of hazardous waste, which holds a maximum penalty of $25,000 per day.

The benzene contamination in the creek extends approximately 3,000 feet.

Walker said Williams continues to use aeration efforts to remove the benzene from the creek. At this point, no chemicals have been injected into the creek to combat the benzene, though he said it is a possibility in the future.

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