Antero fined $150,000 for Rifle-area pipe leak
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved a $150,000 fine Monday against Antero Resources in connection with a leak from a produced-water pipeline that resulted in oily contamination of groundwater and soil near Rifle.
The fine was part of a consent agreement reached with Antero. The commission says Antero violated rules on pollution and management of waste in the incident, discovered in July 2010.
The leak from a faulty weld in a plastic pipe resulted in seeps of a paraffin-like substance in a nearby gravel pit owned by Grant Brothers Construction, and caused high levels of benzene, a carcinogen, in the groundwater.
The oil-laden water came from 36 wells on five well pads in the Colorado River floodplain, the commission said.
Before the commission acted Monday, Commissioner Richard Alward of Grand Junction expressed concern about how much time has lapsed since the leak’s discovery.
“It’s now 2013, and we’re now finally resolving things,” he said.
Commission staff said the delay was because Antero tried several approaches to cleaning it up, finally settling on full excavation, which was completed last September. The state then allowed for another half-year of environmental monitoring.
Denver-based Antero no longer operates in Colorado, having sold its assets in the Piceance Basin to Ursa Resources in order to focus on drilling in the eastern U.S.