Parachute: Truck hoses are likely responsible for creek contamination

Pumper trucks leaving their hoses in Parachute Creek probably were responsible for detections of diesel-range organics near the diversion point for the town of Parachute’s irrigation water, town administrator Robert Knight said Monday.

Those organics were reported by state officials Friday. But the latest tests show no contamination at any creek monitoring points associated with a hydrocarbons leak, including at the town’s downstream diversion point, the state Department of Natural Resources said Monday.

Friday’s detection of the organics at the diversion point came as Williams has been trying to protect the town’s irrigation system.

A leak centered in a pipeline corridor near the creek northwest of Parachute resulted in thousands of gallons of hydrocarbons leaking into the ground and groundwater. Williams says a faulty pressure gauge leaked the fluids. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission continues to investigate.

While benzene has been detected in groundwater on each side of the creek, authorities say none has been found in the creek itself. However, diesel-range organics have occasionally been found, including upstream of the leak site.

Knight said the pumper hoses were just upstream of the town diversion point, and dirty hoses could cause the contamination.

“We’ve since put up signs restricting that. They can’t fill at that location. They pulled their hoses out,” he said.

But he added, “We’ve only got so much control over it because they do have some water rights in the creek.”

Pumper trucks often fill up at area waterways to service oil and gas operations.

Knight said a boom has been placed in the creek to help protect water for irrigation.

Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman said Monday that two new monitoring wells showed benzene detections of 490-520 ppb. That’s about 100 times the drinking water standard for benzene.

“However, a series of five more monitoring wells continuing downstream on both sides of the creek did not detect benzene. This suggests the extent of impacted groundwater is beginning to take shape,” he said.

So far, benzene has been found in groundwater as far as 1,400 feet down-valley from the valve site.



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