13,500 gallons of oil spilled along St. Vrain River; 5,250 spilled in South Platte
10 different sites in Colorado being tracked
Last Updated: 77 days ago
DENVER - Federal regulators are responding to a second significant spill from a Colorado oil field that's been inundated by flooding.
Environmental Protection Agency spokesman Matthew Allen said Thursday that Anadarko Petroleum reported the release of 323 barrels from an oil and gas tank farm along the St. Vrain River near Platteville. That's about 13,500 gallons.
It wasn't immediately known if any efforts were being made to capture the released fuel. Allen says fast-moving floodwaters could make that task difficult.
Anadarko on Wednesday reported a 125 barrel release from an oil tank south of Milliken. That's an additional 5,250 gallons in the South Platte River.
Both releases involve condensate, a mixture of oil and water.
Allen said more reports of problems in Colorado's booming Wattenberg oil field are expected once flood waters recede and inspectors can access more sites.
Our partners at the Denver Post reported that oil and gas releases from 10 different sites in flooded areas of Colorado are being tracked by state and federal regulators.
Two of the releases were "significant" and the remaining eight are being classified as minor, according to an update from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the newspaper reported.
Minor spills are considered sheens coming off of a piece of equipment rather than a measurable volume of petroleum product.
About 600 personnel are inspecting and repairing other damaged well sites, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
Right now, some inspectors can't even get to some well sites.
And because so many of the wells are still in deep water, teams from the state's Oil and Gas Conservation Commission don't yet know how many may be damaged or leaking.
CALL7 Investigator John Ferrugia said the breach was not unexpected in a flood this big that rushed through oil and gas fields.
Most of the high-tech operators remotely shut down their wells as the water began to rise, Ferrugia reported.
Inspectors are looking for residual sheens on the water, or bubbling form the surface in standing water that could indicate a breach. Each team of inspectors has a map showing the river basins, including a mile on either side, where the wells are in each sector.
Right now, the inspectors have to wait for the flood waters to recede before they can get close enough to inspect some wells. It is just the beginning of a very extensive assessment that will take many days.
According to the Dept. of Health and Human Services: "For most people, brief contact with small amounts of light crude oil and oil spill dispersants will do no harm. However, longer contact can cause a rash and dry skin. Dispersants can also irritate your eyes. Breathing or swallowing dispersants can also cause health effects."
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