Williams won’t be fined in liquids leak

Williams will face no fine in connection with a natural gas liquids leak northwest of Parachute as long as it complies with a consent order being negotiated with the state.

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment spokesman Mark Salley said in a news release this afternoon that no penalty is being assessed under the order “as the release was not due to negligence but to accidental equipment failure.”

However, CDPHE’s Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division retains the ability to fine Williams’ wholly owned subsidiary, Bargath, LLC, “in the event the company does not comply with the clean-up/remediation requirements” of the order, Salley said.

Williams says about 10,000 gallons of natural gas liquids leaked into soil and groundwater when a pressure valve burst on a pipeline leaving its gas processing plant this winter.

Salley said the division has met with Williams and Bargath officials regarding a compliance advisory the division issued to Bargath April 30. The companies agreed to work under CDPHE’s hazardous waste corrective action authority, and the division and Bargath have agreed to enter into the consent order, which is likely to be negotiated and signed by both parties within a month. That order “will provide the framework for the investigation of the extent of soil, groundwater and surface water contamination that occurred as a result of the release, and for the interim and final remediation measures that will be conducted to thoroughly cleanup the release,” Salley said.

Those measures range from short-term removal of contaminants in groundwater and surface water, to the long-term cleanup of those waters so they meet state environmental standards.

Current cleanup efforts will continue as the consent order is being drafted, and Salley said upgrades to a groundwater aeration trench appear to be succeeding in reducing levels of benzene, a carcinogen, in Parachute Creek. Benzene levels in groundwater downgradient of the trench are slowly reducing, and there have been no recent benzene readings in the creek exceeding 5 parts per billion. That’s the state drinking water standard, although it doesn’t apply to the creek, which the state doesn’t consider to be a drinking water source.



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