Leak at Parachute pipeline site nears 2,400 gallons

About 2,400 gallons of an unidentified liquid produced during natural gas development had been recovered from a subsurface leak site four miles north of Parachute as of early Sunday morning.

Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, said about 57 barrels (2,394 gallons) of the fluid had been removed as of 6 a.m. Sunday. That’s up from 37 barrels Friday.

A total of 846 barrels of contaminated groundwater also has been removed.

“Clearly there continues to be a lot of groundwater that’s been impacted by the hydrocarbons,” Hartman said.

The leak is occurring on a pipeline right of way on WPX Energy property that’s also home to a natural gas processing plant owned by Williams. Williams first discovered a problem when it detected soil contamination March 8. It first discovered the liquid, described as a hydrocarbon lighter than oil, on Wednesday.

Some 21 barrels of an emulsified hydrocarbon/water mix also have been recovered from the site.

Spokeswomen Donna Gray of Williams and Susan Alvillar of WPX both said Sunday that it’s their understanding the rate of flow is diminishing — “quite a bit,” in Gray’s words. Hartman said he couldn’t confirm that.

He said there is no indication of any impact to nearby Parachute Creek.

The cause remains undetermined. Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and Department of Public Health and Environment staff have been involved in the cleanup effort. Alvillar said Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials also visited the site Sunday and appeared pleased by the work they saw being done.


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