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Parachute Creek, groundwater contaminated by hydrocarbon spill (Updated 5/1)

March 27, 2013
Parachute Creek, groundwater contaminated by hydrocarbon spill (Updated 5/1) Investigation continues into the source of a spill of liquid hydrocarbons near Parachute Creek, but Williams officials now believe the source to be a failed pressure guage on a pipeline owned by Williams Partners. 

Several monitoring wells around the creek have shown benzene levels greatly exceeding the EPA standards for drinking water. 

KDNK News has provided ongoing coverage of the spill, which you can listen to in our news archives.
Three trucks photographed on March 25th near the Parachute spill (KDNK)
Three trucks photographed on March 25th near the Parachute spill (KDNK)

Investigation continues into the source of a spill of liquid hydrocarbons near Parachute Creek, but Williams officials now believe the source to be a failed pressure guage on a pipeline owned by Williams Partners.

Several monitoring wells around the creek have shown benzene levels greatly exceeding the EPA standards for drinking water.

Lab results received by Williams on April 18 found low levels benzene in Parachute Creek. This is the first time the carcinogen has been detected in the stream. Surface water samples have also shown Diesel Range Organics. Williams is using an interceptor trench and two other in-creek systems to remove benzene from the surface water.

According to Williams, the leak started on December 20, 2012 and was stopped on January 3rd, 2013. They estimate up to 241 barrels of hydrocarbon liquids entered the soil. State oil and gas regulators and operators continue to work with the US EPA and the Colorado Department of Health.

KDNK News has provided ongoing coverage of the spill, which you can listen to in our news archives.

Williams workers misjudged extent of spill says VP for the Piceance Basin

Officials with the natural gas company Williams Midstream now believe that more than 45,000 gallons of hydrocarbons have leaked from a company-owned pipeline four miles north of the town of Parachute, contaminating groundwater and a stretch of Parachute Creek.

The source of the leak is thought to be a faulty pressure gauge that was actually discovered–and plugged up–in January, although the spill was not reported to state officials until early March.

Dave Keylor, Williams Vice President for the Piceance Basin, says his company didn't report the spill at first because workers thought that less than 25 gallons had leaked from the gauge. At a recent public meeting on the spill held in Parachute, KDNK's Nelson Harvey asked Keylor how workers could have missed such a large spill, and missed it for so long.
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Cleanup of Parachute Creek could take years

April 30 -- At a meeting with state environmental regulators Monday night in Parachute, well over 100 people gathered to hear the latest on the Parachute Creek hydrocarbon spill. The spill was first reported to regulators in early March, and at Monday's meeting officials updated the crowd on how much contamination has been found in groundwater and in the creek. They also gave their first indication of just how long it could take to finish cleaning up the spill. KDNK's Nelson Harvey reports.
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Low levels of benzene found in Parachute Creek

April 19 -- Lab results received by Williams late Thursday found benzene in Parachute Creek. This is the first time the carcinogen has been detected in the stream...
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Parachute spill highlights pipeline regulation problems in Colorado

April 12 -- On this week's episode of the KDNK News Brief, KDNK's Ed Williams talks to Dennis Webb of the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel about his article detailing problems with oil and gas pipeline regulation in Colorado.
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Williams identifies source of hydrocarbon leak

April 11 -- Williams Midstream officials have determined the source of the hydrocarbon leak to be a failed pressure guage near its Parachute Creek gas plant. KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh has more.
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Diesel Range Organics found in Parachute Creek

April 8 -- Organic compounds associated with diesel have been found in Parachute Creek near where a hydrocarbon spill was discovered nearly a month ago. KDNK's Eric Skalac has this update.
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January leak preceded recent hydrocarbon spill near Parachute Creek

April 8 -- Nearly a month after a hydrocarbon plume was discovered near a gas plant owned by the company Williams Midstream about four miles north of the town of Parachute, it's source has not been identified. The plume continues leaking toxic compounds like the carcinogen benzene into groundwater near Parachute Creek.

At a public forum Thursday night Williams officials revealed that there was another leak a few months ago at the same spot thought to be the source of the current plume. That leak was apparently not reported to state officials.

KDNK's Nelson Harvey reports on that news, and the public's response.
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Benzene detected in groundwater 10 feet from Parachute Creek

April 4 -- Investigators have found new contamination from a hydrocarbon spill near Parachute Creek. KDNK's Eric Skalac has this update.
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Groundwater monitoring wells show benzene levels significantly higher than state health standard

March 29 -- Thursday evening the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission released the results from their tests of contaminated groundwater resulting from an ongoing underground leak at a Williams natural gas facility bordering Parachute Creek. The results show "significant groundwater impacts." KDNK's Steve Cole has more.

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Crews looking at pipeline valve as potential source of leak

March 27 -- The underground hydrocarbon leak at a natural gas facility bordering Parachute Creek is continuing today, at least two and a half weeks since industry workers first discovered discolored soil that smelled of gas at a Williams Midstream processing plant.

KDNK's Ed Williams has this update.

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Spill near Parachute raises information transparency questions

March 22 -- For this week's news brief, KDNK's Ed Williams talks to Bruce Finley of the Denver Post about the ongoing natural gas spill near Parachute.
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Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman says identifying substance key to identifying source

March 21 -- Officials from Williams and WPX are still confounded by the source and exact nature of an underground hydrocarbon plume near Parachute Creek. Construction workers discovered the seep on March 8th during expansion work near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant, about 4 miles north of the Colorado River.

Todd Hartman, spokesman for the Colorado Department of Natural Resources, says as of 6 AM Wednesday, workers have recovered 141 barrels of oil and 2,400 barrels of groundwater from the site. That translates to over 4,000 gallons of oil and more than 74,000 gallons of water...

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Grand Valley Citizens Alliance concerned about lack of communication regarding spill

March 19 -- Leslie Robinson, chair of the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance told KDNK's Amy Hadden Marsh that the GVCA is concerned about the lack of communication between officials and the public. Robinson was in Denver to talk with state lawmakers about various oil and gas legislation, including Senate Bill 202, which would increase oil and gas well inspections from one time every three years to once a year...
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Groundwater contaminated by hydrocarbon spill near Parachute Creek

March 18 -- As of Monday evening, the source of a recent hydrocarbon spill near Parachute is still unknown. KDNK's Ed Williams has this update.
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