Williams Energy, state officials address residents

By: Christy Dimond Email
By: Christy Dimond Email

RIFLE, Colo. (KKCO) -- Dozens of community members got a chance to have their concerns about the leak near Parachute Creek heard by Williams Energy and Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission officials.

At the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board meeting, COGCC Director Matthew Lepore reviewed the sequence of events relating to the spill and the current situation. Lepore said the efforts are beginning to enter into the remediation phase, which consists of cleaning up what’s in the environment. This phase, he said, follows the response phase of working quickly containing the spill.

“I don’t think we know the full extent of the plume,” Lepore said. “I am very cautiously optimistic that the primary source isn’t there. There’s nothing continually contributing right now.”

Lepore said the existing contaminants in the environment will continue to contribute to soil and groundwater contamination for a while still to come.

Dave Keylor, general manager for Williams Midstream, said the company leak has been slowed, with only trace amounts of hydrocarbons being detected over the last 10 days, but acknowledged the company still has a lot of work to do.

Bob Arrington, who sits on the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board, questioned officials about the solubility of benzene, and its ability to dissolve in water, and whether sampling methods would detect it.

Lepore said crews are using sophisticated equipment which can detect miniscule amounts of benzene.

“I think if it’s there, even at 1 part per billion, I think we would know,” Lepore said.

Though Williams Energy and COGCC officials ensured residents Parachute Creek had not been contaminated, many residents weren’t convinced and thought more should be done to address their concerns.

“There's lots of things that go unquestioned and unanswered and public comments get cut off abruptly and people aren’t allowed to fully discuss the issues that are going on,” said Carbondale resident AJ Hobbs.


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