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Hydrocarbons at Parachute Creek


Newest update:
Creek sampling results

Analytical results since August 1, 2013 for sample locations are summarized on the Attachment B Parachute Creek Surface Water Sample Results table (note: samples were not collected from all sample locations on all days).

Town of Parachute Diversion Point and the HOD Diversion Point
Surface water samples were collected from the Town of Parachute's diversion point and the HOD diversion point twice during the week (Monday and Thursday). The samples collected on Thursday, September 5, 2013 and Monday September 9, 2013 were non-detect (less than 1 mg/L) for BTEX. Results for samples collected on Thursday, September 12, 2013 have not been received from the laboratory, but will be reported in the next weekly report.

Creek Samples UG2, CS1 through CS9
Surface water samples were collected from UG2, CS1, CS2, CS3, CS5, and CS5B once during the week (Monday, September 9, 2013) and all results were non-detect (less than 1 mg/L) for BTEX.

Surface water samples were collected from CS6, CS7, and CS8 twice during the week (Tuesday and Thursday). All results from Thursday, September 5, 2013 and Monday, September 9, 2013 were nondetect (less than 1 mg/L) for BTEX. Results for samples collected on Thursday, September 12, 2013 have not been received from the laboratory, but will be reported in the next weekly report.


cdphe CDPHE Parachute Creek 2013 Natural gas liquids release web page-|









Resource section fast links on this page:

Garfield County Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Williams Colorado Department of Natural Resources
(DNR - COGCC)
DNR Website cdoh DNR Website DNR Website
Website Website Website
Map of Parachute, Colorado, and location of Parachute Creek
Parachute Benzene MapLocation of hydrocarbon contamination in Parachute, Colorado. Area outlined in red is the contamination source area.


garfield-county-website
Garfield County

August 23, 2013 CDPHE update, low level benzene detected three continuous days in Parachute Creek

August 23, 2013 CDPHE update
Upgrades to the original air sparge system (Phase I) are in operation, including three new vertical air sparge wells installed on the east side of Parachute Creek to ensure benzene in groundwater does not migrate any further south. The second air sparge system (Phase II A), installed to treat benzene in groundwater closer to the original source, is in operation and effectively reducing benzene concentrations in groundwater.

There was an increase in the benzene concentration at sample point CS-6 up to 9.2 ppb for about a one-week period, around the time the upgrades to the original air sparge system were activated. The concentrations of benzene in surface water at CS-6 have since dropped slowly and were non-detect for the samples collected August 8, August 12 and August 15, 2013.
June 8-10, 2013, low level benzene detected three continuous days in Parachute Creek

June 8, 2013
After no detections of benzene in Parachute Creek sample results since late May, draft data released to Garfield County by Williams Company on June 10 indicates the presence of low-level benzene at a concentration of 1.4 parts per billion June 8, 9 and 10, 2013 for site CS-6. Site CS-6 is located just downstream of the groundwater air sparge trench. Benzene was not detected at other points along the creek, either in samples from sites upstream or downstream from site CS-6.
April 29, 2013 - Garfield County community meeting with regulators

community meeting
April 29, 2013
More than 100 residents of Garfield County, most of whom were from Parachute, attended an April 29 community meeting on the hydrocarbon spill north of Parachute. Many asked questions of a panel of regulators from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The agencies had just announced two days prior that oversight of the remediation would transfer from the COGCC to the CDPHE, because the hydrocarbons were leaked from a pipeline, and not while under production at the plant itself.
April 23, 2013 - Garfield County plans April 29 community meeting

MEDIA ADVISORY
April 23, 2013

Garfield County plans community meeting April 29, 6 pm, in Parachute

Garfield County has planned a community meeting as an opportunity for local residents and officials to visit with and ask questions of federal and state regulatory agency staff about the ongoing hydrocarbon contamination investigation and remediation efforts near a Williams gas plant north of Parachute. Hydrocarbons were first discovered in groundwater near Parachute Creek March 13.

A panel of representatives from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Garfield County Public Health, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will attend the meeting to answer questions, review each agency's role in the investigation and cleanup process, and address potential public and environmental health concerns.

The meeting will be Monday April 29, at 6 pm, at the Grand Valley Fire Protection District Building, at 0124 Stone Quarry Road in Parachute. Residents who are not able to attend may contact Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison, Kirby Wynn, at 970-625-5905, and he will ask their questions of the panel and offer replies back via email the day following the meeting.

April 22, 2013 - Garfield County Public Health monitors benzene reports
April 22, 2013
Garfield County Public Health (GCPH) is actively monitoring the situation surrounding the finding of hydrocarbons in soils and groundwater, and of benzene in Parachute Creek. "First and foremost our top priority is the health and wellbeing of the residents in Garfield County. We will continue to be in contact with the regulatory agencies in charge, to keep us apprised of this situation," said Yvonne Long, Director of Public Health.

GCPH is engaged in daily communications with the Colorado Department of Public Health (CDPHE), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). The data gathered to this point does not indicate an immediate risk to the health of residents due to this contamination event. The Town of Parachute's drinking water supply and distribution system are independent of Parachute Creek, and are not impacted by the hydrocarbon contamination in Parachute Creek and of nearby groundwater.

Steve Gunderson, director of the Water Quality Control Division at CDPHE, has stated, "Although the benzene levels in the creek are below state drinking water standards, their presence reinforces the need to assure that the cleanup of this spill is done as expeditiously as possible. CDPHE is meeting regularly with COGCC and EPA to discuss the cleanup and the appropriate measures to be taken."

EPA resource for benzene information-|
April 18, 2013 - Benzene detection in Parachute Creek, Garfield County convenes community meeting
PRESS RELEASE - Garfield County
April 18, 2013

Low-level benzene found in Parachute Creek water samples

GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – April 18, 2013, at 7 p.m., Garfield County was notified that benzene has been detected in Parachute Creek water samples. As previously reported, there has been an ongoing investigation of hydrocarbon contamination in groundwater near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant located about four miles north of Parachute, Colo. The benzene detections reported April 18 are the first indication of contamination of Parachute Creek, and are based on samples collected on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Confirmation samples were collected April 18 and analyzed, using an on-site mobile laboratory. The confirmation samples verified the occurrence of low-level benzene in Parachute Creek about 1,200 feet downstream from the gas plant. The mobile lab is in place at the site where hydrocarbons have recently been found in soils and groundwater near the Williams plant.

The Department of Natural Resources reports that the benzene concentrations were below the state drinking water standard of 5 parts per billion. Despite being below regulatory standards, the presence of benzene in Parachute Creek is of great concern. Garfield County has confirmed that the Parachute Town Administrator, Parachute Public Works Department, the Battlement Mesa Metro District, and the Town of DeBeque Public Works Department have been advised regarding this latest development in the hydrocarbon contamination situation, first discovered and reported on March 13. It should be noted that the Town of Parachute’s drinking water supply does not draw from Parachute Creek and it is not at risk from this hydrocarbon contamination event.

Garfield County will convene a public meeting at the earliest possible opportunity so that the community can hear from and ask questions of relevant state and federal regulatory authorities including the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The county will provide notification of the time and location of the community meeting as soon as these are known. The Board of County Commissioners, County Manager, Director of Public Health, Sheriff, Emergency Manager, and County Attorney have all been notified.

Citizens may follow developments and view maps through the websites of each of the agencies listed here, and Garfield County is working to relay information as it becomes available on the ongoing investigation and remediation efforts.


April 17, 2013 - Board of County Commissioners attend a remediation meeting
April 17, 2013 Members of the Board of County Commissioners attended a meeting at Parachute Town Hall to discuss the Williams contamination site and remediation.

April 15-16, 2013 - Maps of benzene concentrations
April 16, 2013
Parachute Benzene Map04/15/13 - Most recent benzene concentrations in groundwater and Isoconcentration map.

Map CS Locations04/15/13 - Parachute Creek sampling sites - CS-6, CS-7 and CS-8. Site CS-6 was the initial stream sampling location with low level benzene detections.

Benzene concentrations
Draft map of benzene concentrations in groundwater near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant
Draft map of benzene concentrations in groundwater near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant. Map includes the most recent preliminary benzene data available through April 13, 2013. Data is subject to update or change based on quality assurance reviews.

Monitoring wells and locations

Draft map of monitoring wells and temporary monitoring locations near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant. Draft map of monitoring wells and temporary monitoring locations near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant. Map includes the most recent groundwater monitoring location data as were available through April 13, 2013.

Note: click on map images to open full maps
April 12, 2013 - Garfield County Commissioners and staff attend meetings and site visits
April 12, 2013

On March 14, 2013, Garfield County was notified by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment of hydrocarbon contamination in groundwater near the Williams Midstream gas plant. The location is near Parachute Creek.

Since that time, Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison Kirby Wynn has visited the site several times and communicates daily with governmental regulators, Parachute Town Council and staff, Williams Midstream, on-site contractors, community leaders and concerned citizens.

Garfield County Commissioners, Environmental Health Manager Paul Reaser, Emergency Manager Chris Bornholdt and other staff have also participated in on-site visits and community stakeholder meetings, including the Garfield County Energy Advisory Board meeting on April 4, and discussions with the Town of Parachute.

On behalf of Garfield County residents, the County Commissioners and staff continue to assist stakeholder coordination, communication and education regarding the investigation and remediation of the hydrocarbons.

Garfield County continues to review new information as it becomes available, and to ensure residents are advised of any concerns about water quality in Parachute Creek. The Town of Parachute’s municipal drinking water supply does not draw from Parachute Creek and is not at risk from hydrocarbon contamination. County public health professionals are tracking the situation and prepared to act in a number of ways if the situation warrants.

March 20, 2013 - Media advisory on regulatory contacts for Garfield County residents
Garfield County staff is receiving information on the discovery of subsurface hydrocarbons in groundwater near a gas plant just north of Parachute, Colorado. The plant is operated by Williams on private land in Garfield County.

Garfield County Oil and Gas Liaison, Kirby Wynn, was alerted to the situation via standard regulatory reporting protocols on the morning of March 14. Wynn has subsequently participated in an onsite briefing at the location where the hydrocarbons were initially discovered.

An investigation is underway, administered by federal and state agencies - the United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) and Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC).

At this time, Garfield County is closely observing the investigation by these agencies into the source and extent of the subsurface hydrocarbon contamination. To date, there has not been indication of a public health and safety issue that requires action by Garfield County, but staff will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Citizens may contact the following individuals from Williams and representing the regulatory agencies investigating to mitigate the hydrocarbons:

Donna Gray
Community Relations Specialist
Williams
donna.gray@williams.com
970-589-1557

Todd Hartman
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Todd.Hartman@state.co.us
303-866-3311 ext. 8665

Lisa McClain-Vanderpool
Media Officer, US Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8
mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov
(303) 501-4027

_________________________________________


cdoph
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE)
August 23, 2013 - Air sparge upgrades, benzene now non-detect
Upgrades to the original air sparge system (Phase I) are in operation, including three new vertical air sparge wells installed on the east side of Parachute Creek to ensure benzene in groundwater does not migrate any further south. The second air sparge system (Phase II A), installed to treat benzene in groundwater closer to the original source, is in operation and effectively reducing benzene concentrations in groundwater.

There was an increase in the benzene concentration at sample point CS-6 up to 9.2 ppb for about a one-week period, around the time the upgrades to the original air sparge system were activated. The concentrations of benzene in surface water at CS-6 have since dropped slowly and were non-detect for the samples collected August 8, August 12 and August 15, 2013.

Date CS-6 Reading
(parts per billion – ppb)
Thursday, July 11 5.5
Monday, July 15 9.2
Thursday, July 18 4.4
Monday, July 22 4.1
Monday, July 29 2.2
Monday, August 5 1.5
Thursday, August 8 Non-Detect
Monday, August 12 Non-Detect
Thursday, August 15 Non-Detect


Parachute Creek is not used as a drinking water source and the actual surface water standard for benzene in the creek is 5300 ppb based on protection of aquatic life. Minor fluctuations in the concentration of benzene in the surface water in Parachute Creek may occur as new groundwater treatment systems are brought on-line.

All waste soil generated during investigation and cleanup of the pipeline release has been removed from the site and shipped to an industrial waste landfill in Utah for disposal.

As of August 13, all the contaminated groundwater generated during remediation activities that had been in storage was treated in the newly-operational groundwater treatment system (also known as the Hydrocarbon Recovery System or HRS). The sample results from the effluent of the HRS during the first week of stored water treatment demonstrated that the concentration of all parameters was within the limits specified in the state-issued water discharge permit.

Pumping equipment capable of enhancing the recovery of liquid hydrocarbon by drawing down the groundwater table in the recovery well has been installed in all recovery wells. The recovery wells should be in operation by the last week in August. The groundwater will be treated in the HRS prior to discharge back into the Parachute Creek alluvium. The recovered liquid hydrocarbon will be temporarily stored prior to recycling.
--

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594
email: mark.salley@state.co.us

July 18, 2013 - CS-6 reporting benzene levels, Williams submits work plan
Creek and ground water samples continue to be recorded regularly. All creek surface water sample points have remained non-detect for benzene contamination with the exception of CS-6.
Date CS-6 Reading
(parts per billion – ppb)
Friday, July 5 2.8
Monday, July 8 3.9
Thursday, July 11 5.5
Monday, July 15 9.2

The sample result for CS-6 from Thursday, July 11 is the first time since the single detection on May 1, 2013 that the concentration of benzene at CS-6 has exceeded the drinking water standard of 5 ppb. However, the surface water from Parachute Creek is not used as a drinking water source and the actual surface water standard for benzene in the creek is 5,300 ppb based on protection of aquatic life. The sampling results do not represent a risk to public health.

It also is important to note that contamination found at CS-6 is isolated and does not appear to be traveling. All other sample points remain non-detect for contamination, including the Town of Parachute's diversion point for irrigation water.

On Saturday, July 13, Williams began operation of new vertical air sparge wells installed to upgrade the existing air sparge/vapor extraction system. The new sparge wells were placed to stop the flow of benzene-contaminated ground water around the east end of the existing system that may be the cause of the increased benzene concentrations at sample point CS-6. As noted in the July 12 update, a new air sparge/vapor extraction system located farther upstream of CS-6 will be activated the week of July 22. The intent of this system will be to treat contaminated ground water closer to the original source area and speed up the overall cleanup process.

--

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594
email: mark.salley@state.co.us

July 2, 2013 - CS-6 reporting benzene levels, Williams submits work plan

The benzene concentration in all surface water samples remains non-detect for all sample points except for CS-6. The benzene levels there varied between 1.2 and 1.7 ppb over the last week.

Williams has submitted a work plan proposing upgrades to the existing ground water aeration system and the construction of a second ground water aeration system for the northeast side of Parachute Creek. The second ground water aeration system will be upgradient of the existing system in an area with elevated benzene concentrations in the ground water. The intent will be to have a two-stage ground water treatment process to help speed up treatment of ground water and help reduce the concentration of benzene that reaches Parachute Creek at location CS-6.

The state health department visited the Parachute Creek site on June 13 to collect ground water and surface water samples for independent analysis to confirm the sample results that Williams has been reporting for the project. The state health department collected what are known as "split" samples with Williams from one ground water well and three on-site surface water samples, and had the samples analyzed for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) including benzene and various solvents. The results of the state health department's independent sample analysis were consistent with the results of the analysis conducted by the laboratories that Williams uses for sample analysis. Results are available on the state health department's website for this Parachute Creek release.

At the request of a private property owner whose property borders Parachute Creek, on June 13, the state health department also collected a surface water sample from Parachute Creek where the private property owner allows his horses to drink from the creek. The sample location is down gradient of the City of Parachute Irrigation Water Diversion and upstream of the Town of Parachute itself. All VOCs, including benzene and other constituents that might be related to the Parachute Creek pipeline release, were non-detect in the both the state health department's and Williams' sample results.

June 18, 2013 - Parachute Creek Surface Water Sample Readings for CS-6 (June 2013)

June 13: 1.6 ppb
June 14: 1.8 ppb
June 15: 1.5 ppb
June 16: 1.7 ppb
Readings for the rest of the creek surface water sample points (CS-7 through the Town of Parachute) remain non-detect.

On June 17, Bargath reported its staff performed a pilot test on the new ground water treatment system over the weekend (June 15-16). Ground water from two frac tanks was transported via tank truck to the Parachute Creek Gas Plant. The ground water was off-loaded into a pre-treatment frac storage tank, run through the full treatment system and captured in one of two "certified clean" post-treatment storage tanks. Numerous samples were collected between each treatment stage and of the water stored in the post-treatment tanks. The results from the on-site mobile laboratory showed that the ground water treatment system was completely effective at removing contaminants from the stored ground water. Samples also were collected and sent to an off-site, fixed, independent laboratory for analysis. The water being stored in the post-treatment storage tanks will not be disposed until the sample results of from the independent fixed laboratory confirm the effectiveness of the treatment, and until Bargath obtains a permit to dispose of the treated water.

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594

June 12, 2013 - Benzene detected June 8-10 at sample site CS-6

Over the weekend of June 8 benzene was detected at a concentration of 1.4 ppb in Parachute Creek surface water on June 8, June 9 and June 10 at sample site 6 (CS-6). The surface water samples for all other surface water sample locations upstream and downstream of the Parachute Creek site remain non-detect for benzene contamination. The concentration of benzene in the ground water sentinel wells surrounding the end of the benzene plume remained constant during this same time. The existing ground water aeration system continues at full operation.

Multiple times a day during daylight hours, visual surveys are conducted along Parachute Creek to look for hydrocarbon sheen on the surface - floating hydrocarbons on the surface water; similar to what oil would look like on top of water. No hydrocarbon sheen has ever been found on the surface water of Parachute Creek. Results of a site-wide ground water sampling event show that the size of the ground water plume remains stable.

Work continues on construction of the new ground water treatment system that will be used to treat the contaminated groundwater from the site that is currently in storage and the groundwater that will be extracted from the hydrocarbon recovery wells. The major components of the treatment system arrived at the site in early June 2013 and the facility is currently finishing work on the plumbing and electrical systems. Work also continues on obtaining the required water discharge and air emission permits for the system. The intent is to have the new groundwater treatment system tested and ready by the time the permits are issued so full operation can begin right-away.

June 4, 2013 - New website for CDPHE

Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has created a new web page for the hydrocarbon contamination event in Parachute.

CDPHE Parachute Creek 2013 Natural gas liquids release web page-|
May 31, 2013 - Map shows data on benzene sampling through April 30

CDPHE released a map showing the benzene results posted from April 30, 2013. The map shows detailed views of data collected regarding benzene isoconcentrations and hydrocarbon thickness.

hydro map
view full map-|
May 24, 2013 - Parachute Creek surface water sample sites non-detect for benzene.

On Monday, May 20, Parachute Creek surface water sample site 6 (CS6) had a benzene detection of 1.4 ppb. Since Tuesday, May 21, surface water sample location CS6 and all other surface water sample sites have been non-detect for benzene contamination.

Multiple times a day during daylight hours, visual surveys are conducted along Parachute Creek to look for hydrocarbon sheen on the surface. This practice is done to provide an extra form of contamination detection alongside surface water and ground water sampling. No sheen has been observed.

Ground water testing wells and hydrocarbon recovery wells are continue to be installed or updated to ensure maximum recovery of floating hydrocarbon and ability to measure/observe potential contaminant movement. With this technology, the ground water hydrocarbon contamination plume can be closely monitored and its boundaries well-defined. There also is continuous ground water and surface water sampling to ensure plume stability and evaluate the effectiveness of current remediation efforts.

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594

May 20, 2013 - Benzene lessens, hydrocarbon extraction continues
May 20, 2013

May 20, 2013 - Daily samples are continuing to show a shrinking area of benzene contamination in Parachute Creek surface water.

Location Readings (5/17/13)
CS6 2.1 ppb
CS7 Non-detect
CS8 Non-detect
CS9 Non-detect
CS10 Non-detect
CS11 Non-detect
Town of Parachute Non-detect


Pumps continue to remove floating hydrocarbon from the groundwater surface from numerous wells and approximately 60-gallons of floating liquid hydrocarbons are being collected each day at the site. The upgraded groundwater aeration trench is in continuous operation and draft ground water sampling results show that the concentration of benzene in groundwater down gradient of the aeration trench is decreasing rapidly.

Last week a comprehensive ground water sampling program was completed that included samples from 27 monitoring points in and around the area impacted by the release. The groundwater monitoring data will be available in approximately two-weeks. Please note that the comprehensive ground water sampling was in addition to the ground water sampling and analysis activities that are being conducted on a daily basis from ground water monitoring wells that are key to demonstrating that contamination is not spreading, and evaluating whether existing remediation efforts are working.

Williams met with landowner, WPX Energy, and received approval to construct the piping system that will be used to transfer groundwater from the new floating hydrocarbon recovery wells to the ground water treatment system. The intent is to have the floating hydrocarbon recovery well infrastructure constructed, and tested by the time the ground water treatment system is ready to begin operation in mid-June 2013.

Over the weekend of May 18 - 19, 2013, Williams conducted a "pilot test" of electromagnetic (EM) geophysical surveys near the end of the floating hydrocarbon plume at the site. The EM geophysicists use a hand-held instrument to introduce an electrical current into the ground in an attempt to identify preferential groundwater flow paths such as gravel zones by measuring differences in electrical conductivity. The hand-held instrument is moved back and forth over the ground surface in "survey lines" in an attempt to generate a three-dimensional map of the subsurface. The results of the EM geophysics survey will be evaluated in the near future to determine if the technology provides useful information about contaminant flow paths at the site. Please note that there are many things that can interfere with geophysical surveys and reduce the usefulness of the data collected.

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594

May 15, 2013 - Hazardous Waste Corrective Action Compliance Order
May 15, 2013

Personnel from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division (HMWMD) met with representatives of Bargath, LLC and Williams Company regarding the Hazardous Waste Compliance Advisory issued to Bargath, LLC on April 30. Bargath is a wholly owned subsidiary of Williams.

Bargath and Williams agreed to work under this department's hazardous waste corrective action authority. As such, the Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division and Bargath will enter into a Hazardous Waste Corrective Action Compliance Order on Consent (Consent Order). The Consent Order, likely negotiated and signed by both parties within a month, 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.

No penalty is being assessed as part of the Consent Order, as the release was not due to negligence but to accidental equipment failure. The division retains the ability to fine Bargath in the event the company does not comply with the clean-up/remediation requirements of the Consent Order.

The Consent Order will be drafted by HMWMD and the draft is expected to be provided to Bargath within two weeks. The order will outline remedial activities from this point forward, including the development of contingency plans in the event hydrocarbon appears in the creek; implementing measures to begin the process of recovering the hydrocarbon floating on the ground water table; taking actions to reduce the concentration of dissolved benzene in ground water; and developing a long-term strategy to eliminate the source of contamination impacting ground water and surface water with the goal of meeting state environmental standards.

Please note that clean-up efforts will continue without pause during the time the Consent Order is being drafted and signed. Bargath will continue to take direction from CDPHE, while COGCC and U.S. EPA continue to remain up-to-date and involved in the project. The effort to upgrade the groundwater aeration trench to reduce levels of benzene in Parachute Creek surface water appears to be working. Current data show levels of benzene in groundwater are slowly reducing down gradient of the aeration trench and there have been no further surface water samples from any site exceeding 5.0 ppb.

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594

May 14, 2013 - Sample CS8 a non-detect; pumps recovering hydrocarbons
May 14, 2013

For the first time, on Friday, May 10, a surface water sample from location CS8 came up as non-detect for benzene levels. It has remained non-detect since Friday, May 10.

Creek surface water samples / benzene levels:
Parachute Creek Surface Water Samples
Location Readings (5/9/13) Readings (5/10/13) Readings (5/11/13) Readings (5/12/13)
CS6 4.4 ppb 3.5 ppb 3.7 ppb 2.6 ppb
CS7 1.4 ppb 1.5 ppb 1.3 ppb 1.0 ppb
CS8 1.1 ppb Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect
CS9 Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect
CS10 Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect
CS11 Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect
Town of Parachute Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect Non-detect

As of Friday, May 10, all pumps were recovering hydrocarbons from all wells. This should result in an overall increase in hydrocarbon recovery.

The domestic well of rancher Howard Orona was tested last week and the benzene levels were non-detect. Water quality in his well has not been affected by the natural gas liquids leak at Williams.

Piping for vertical air sparge wells was completed late last week and with an adjustment to the blowers as well, the vertical air sparge wells were operational as of Friday, May 10.

Williams has ordered an on-site water treatment system that will be used to treat groundwater that already has been extracted from the site as part of investigation and remediation, and that currently is stored in tanks. The on-site groundwater treatment system also will be used to treat groundwater extracted from a series of new recovery wells designed to remove floating hydrocarbon from the groundwater surface. The goal is to have the new treatment system running by the end of May.

 

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594

May 9, 2013 - Benzene levels below 5 ppb - Work plan document submitted
May 9, 2013

The Work Plan for Interim Remedy Response Actions document, describing proposed upgrades to the existing groundwater treatment system in the vicinity of sample point CS-6, was submitted by Williams to EPA and CDPHE for review and approval.

Creek surface water samples / benzene levels:
Parachute Creek Surface Water Samples
Location Monday Readings (5/7/13) Tuesday Readings (5/8/13)
CS6 4.7 ppb 4.5 ppb
CS7 1.4 ppb 1.4 ppb
CS8 1.1 ppb 1.0 ppb
CS9 Non-detect Non-detect
CS10 Non-detect Non-detect
CS11 Non-detect Non-detect
Town of Parachute Non-detect Non-detect
One new recovery well – 2A – was installed on Tuesday to recover hydrocarbons from the soil.

Installation of vertical air sparge wells intended to enhance treatment of benzene in groundwater has been completed. Work is in progress to now connect the vertical sparge wells to the blower motor. The groundwater aeration/sparge trench remains in operation after installation of a larger capacity blower intended to enhance groundwater treatment.

On Tuesday, May 7, all of the creek containment booms were replaced with fresh ones.

Sampling began this week of the contaminated groundwater that has been stored since being extracted as part of hydrocarbon recovery operations. This "waste characterization" sampling will provide the information needed to properly treat and dispose of the accumulated ground water.

Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594

May 7, 2013 - Benzene levels below 5 ppb
May 7, 2013

All creek surface water samples through the weekend, Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5, were below 5 ppb for benzene. Below are May 5 results:

•       CS6:  4.2 ppb
•       CS7:  1.7 ppb
•       CS8:  1.2 ppb
•       CS9:  non-detect
•       CS10:  non-detect
•       CS11:  non-detect
•       Town of Parachute:  non-detect

Aeration trench upgrades are in progress to treat benzene-contaminated groundwater before it reaches Parachute Creek. Upgrades include the installation of a new blower (for the air sparging system) and the installation of new vertical sparge wells near the toe of the plume to ensure that deeper groundwater also is treated.
Total fluid recovery (hydrocarbons) thus far is approximately 180 gallons. All contaminated water that has been recovered is being stored for future treatment.

May 3, 2013 - Water sample CS-6 was 4.7 ppb
May 3, 2013 The May 2 result for surface water sample CS-6 was 4.7 ppb. This is a slight reduction from the 5.3 ppb detected on May 1. As noted in yesterday’s update, none of the surface water sampling results demonstrate the water is a risk to public health.

The concentration of benzene in the surface water dissipates rapidly downstream of sample point CS-6. Other May 2 sample results:
•        CS-7: 1.8 ppb
•        CS-8: 1.5 ppb
•        CS-9: not detected
•        CS-10: not detected
•        CS-11: not detected
•        Parachute Irrigation Diversion: not detected


Early in the week of May 6, 2013, the Colorado Department of Public Health, Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will receive a plan from Williams describing proposed upgrades to the existing groundwater treatment system in the vicinity of sample point CS-6. The intent of the upgrades will be to more quickly and thoroughly reduce the concentration of benzene in groundwater before it enters Parachute Creek. Williams anticipates the treatment system upgrades will be fully operational within a few days of approval by the regulatory agencies.

Please note that once the more aggressive groundwater treatment systems are brought on-line, there may be a temporary increase in the concentration of benzene entering Parachute Creek as residual groundwater contamination between the treatment systems and the creek is mobilized. But as the data above show, the expectation is that benzene would continue to dissipate as it moves downstream. Williams will be closely monitoring the situation once the system is turned on, to look for changes that might warrant adjusting its operation, to enhance benzene removal rates and minimize temporary impacts to the creek. 


Mark Salley
Communications Director
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
office: 303.692-2013 | cell: 303.921-8594
email: mark.salley@state.co.us
May 2, 2013 - Water sample CS-6 was 5.3 ppb
May 2, 2013

The May 1 result for surface water sample CS-6 was 5.3 ppb. This is the first time in more than three weeks of daily sampling at several locations that a surface water sample has exceeded the state’s drinking water standard for benzene of 5 ppb.

Parachute Creek is not a drinking water source.

Surface water sampling results vary by location and by dates of sampling. None of the surface water sampling results demonstrate the water is a risk to public health.

The concentration of benzene in the surface water dissipates rapidly downstream of sample point CS-6. Other May 1 sample results:
•        CS-7: 1.6 ppb
•        CS-8: 1.3 ppb
•        CS-9: not detected
•        CS-10: not detected
•        CS-11: not detected
•        Parachute Irrigation Diversion: not detected

Remediation actions continue and will be modified if appropriate to respond to sampling that indicates a significant change in the characterization of the site.

Please note the State of Colorado Surface Water Standard of 5,300 ppb is based on protection of aquatic life in the creek.

The Colorado Department of Public Health will continue to work closely with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Williams to monitor changes in the concentration of benzene in the surface water in Parachute Creek.
April 30, 2013 - CDPHE leads response and remediation

April 30, 2013

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) will continue to provide periodic updates as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) Communications Manager Todd Hartman had been providing.

As stated in the last COGCC update, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment mutually agreed that primary jurisdiction for response and remediation at the Parachute Creek spill will shift to CDPHE. This shift doesn't reflect any material change in the circumstances at the site, the nature of the spilled hydrocarbons, or any change in what's currently understood about impacts to groundwater or surface water.

The shift is the result of a legal interpretation that classifies the spilled materials as ones over which CDPHE has primary authority. After careful analysis of the function of the Natural Gas Liquids line in the process stream at the gas plant, the agencies have concluded that hydrocarbons released from the Natural Gas Liquids line do not constitute Exploration & Production waste. Therefore, primary responsibility for the investigation and remediation oversight transfers to CDPHE, with COGCC providing support as needed. The agencies will continue to work together closely at the site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also has been and will continue to be involved in this site under its own regulatory authority, and EPA will continue to be part of communications with both agencies and the operators.

Yesterday representatives of CDPHE and COGCC provided an update during a meeting in Parachute with local officials, basically confirming that nothing has changed about the characterization of the spill. The source of the spill was identified, and was stopped. It is now about the clean-up.

The meeting with local officials was followed by a public meeting with interested community members, which received press coverage.

CDPHE now will take the lead role in working with Williams Co. on the containment and clean-up of the spilled hydrocarbons. Nothing is changing at this time with respect to the sampling and clean-up efforts. One additional sample showed benzene detectable in surface water at 1 ppb, which again is below the safe drinking water threshold of 5 ppb. This sample was slightly further downstream from past samples that showed surface water impacts, but still approximately a mile from the Town of Parachute's irrigation diversion point - which has yet to show any benzene detection.

Williams Co. has completed an approximately 200-foot treatment trench, in the location of the bend in the creek where previous samples of surface water had detected benzene (below 5 ppb), to aerate groundwater in the trench to remove benzene before it reaches the creek. Such aeration is an effective method of removing benzene from water. CPDHE's Air Pollution Control Division has approved the aeration as a clean-up measure and will be requiring a permit application from Williams to continue the process as may be needed.

CDPHE will take over the collection of independent sampling that had been being conducted by COGCC.

CDPHE will continue to work with COGCC, EPA and Williams Co. on the clean up.

_______________________________________________


Department of Natural Resources website
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Todd Hartman, Communications Director
April 27, 2013

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment have mutually agreed that primary jurisdiction for response and remediation at the Parachute Creek spill will shift to CDPHE over the next several days. This shift doesn’t reflect any material change in the circumstances at the site, the nature of the spilled hydrocarbons, or any change in what’s currently understood about impacts to groundwater or surface water. It is the result of a legal interpretation that classifies the spilled materials as ones over which CDPHE has primary authority.

The COGCC and the CDPHE have both been involved with the response to the spill from the outset. Pursuant to Colorado Revised Statutes Section 25-8-202(7) and an August 1990 Memorandum of Agreement between the agencies, COGCC is responsible for responding to discharges of exploration and production waste to waters of the state, except discharges governed by a Colorado Discharge Permit System permit.

After careful analysis of the function of the natural gas liquids (NGL) line in the process stream at the gas plant, the agencies have concluded that hydrocarbons released from the NGL line do not constitute E&P waste. Therefore, primary responsibility for the investigation and remediation oversight will transfer to CDPHE, with COGCC providing support as needed. The agencies will continue to work together closely at the site, with CDPHE in the lead position. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has also been involved in this site, and will continue to be part of communications with both agencies and the operators.

At the site, operators have finished installing three systems to mitigate the low levels of benzene that have been detected in a section of Parachute Creek. Those systems have started operating and operators and regulators will be gauging their effectiveness.

Mark Salley at CDPHE is the primary media contact going forward, however I can also serve as a contact to address certain questions specific to COGCC's role:

Mark Salley, CDPHE, mark.salley@state.co.us, 303-692-2013

Todd Hartman, DNR, todd.hartman@state.co.us, 303-866-3311 x-8665

Many documents associated with this event are posted on the COGCC's website. Visit the home page – www.cogcc.state.co.us – and then click on IMAGES on the left-hand side. On the next page, select "Projects" from the drop-down menu, and in the Unique Identified tab enter the number 2120. Then click "Search". That will bring up all the documents, which are posted frequently.

_______________________________________________


williams site
Williams

September 2013 - Surface water sampling are non-detect for hydrocarbons
Williams update on activity near its Parachute facility

Weekly Status Report
CDPHE Incident Number 2013-0161
Garfield County, CO
Monday, September 9 - Sunday, September 15, 2013


Pursuant to Section III.D of the Unilateral Administrative Order (UAO) issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) on March 19, 2013, receipt of which was acknowledged on March 20, 2013 by Bargath LLC (Bargath), a wholly-owned company of Williams, the following is a status report for Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Incident 2013-0161 near the Williams Parachute Creek Gas Plant in Garfield County, Colorado. Significant project activities and correspondence during the week of September 9, 2013 are described below.

Creek Monitoring

Creek Inspections and Boom Maintenance

Inspections of the creek and the booms were conducted daily during the week. No sheens or other visible indications of hydrocarbons were observed in the creek water or on the booms. The inspection observation forms are provided as Attachment A accompanying this status report.

Creek Sampling Results
Analytical results since August 1, 2013 for sample locations are summarized on the Attachment B Parachute Creek Surface Water Sample Results table (note: samples were not collected from all sample locations on all days).

Town of Parachute Diversion Point and the HOD Diversion Point


Surface water samples were collected from the Town of Parachute's diversion point and the HOD diversion point twice during the week (Monday and Thursday). The samples collected on Thursday, September 5, 2013 and Monday September 9, 2013 were non-detect (less than 1 mg/L) for BTEX. Results for samples collected on Thursday, September 12, 2013 have not been received from the laboratory, but will be reported in the next weekly report.

Creek Samples UG2, CS1 through CS9


Surface water samples were collected from UG2, CS1, CS2, CS3, CS5, and CS5B once during the week (Monday, September 9, 2013) and all results were non-detect (less than 1 mg/L) for BTEX.

Surface water samples were collected from CS6, CS7, and CS8 twice during the week (Tuesday and Thursday). All results from Thursday, September 5, 2013 and Monday, September 9, 2013 were nondetect (less than 1 mg/L) for BTEX. Results for samples collected on Thursday, September 12, 2013 have not been received from the laboratory, but will be reported in the next weekly report.

Fluid Level Monitoring

Results of the weekly liquid level gauging results are presented in Attachment C. Please note that this table only includes results from the past week of gauging.

Groundwater Monitoring

During the week, groundwater sampling was performed on monitoring points inside of the plume. No data was received during the week to report.

Waste Management

Liquid Hydrocarbon

In accordance with the approved Liquid Hydrocarbon Waste Management Plan, liquid hydrocarbon was shipped off-site for recycling on September 4, 2013. These liquid hydrocarbons were sent to Allied Petrochemical in Alvin, Texas for recycling. Final volume information presented in Attachment D has been updated to reflect the liquid hydrocarbon recycling.

Hydrocarbon Recovery System

The HRS was restarted with recovery well operation on August 28, 2013. A compliance sample of the HRS' discharge stream effluent (sample ID is W5) was collected on September 9, 2013 and was sent to ALS Laboratories for analysis. All discharge permit criteria were met for this weekly sample. HRS performance data are presented in Attachment E.

Phase I and Phase IIA Air Sparge/Soil Vapor Extraction System Performance Monitoring


During the week, air sparge (AS)/soil vapor extraction (SVE) system performance of the Phase I and Phase IIA systems was monitored through sampling and analysis of groundwater from TMPs in and around the system. Analytical results are presented in Attachment F. Please note that this table only includes results for points monitored and data received since August 1, 2013. In addition, operating flow performance is monitored and balanced on a daily basis.

Other Daily Activities and Communications

Project activities for the subject reporting period are summarized below.

Wednesday September 11, 2013

•   The Phase III Source Area Response Action Work Plan was submitted to CDPHE and USEPA for vapor extraction implementation at the release area.

Thursday September 12, 2013

•   During the regulatory call on September 12, 2013, it was agreed that weekly reporting would continue through September at which time the reporting would change to a monthly frequency per the Compliance Order.

•   Also during the regulatory call, it was agreed that the current regulatory call frequency would continue through the month of October and at that time, would be re-evaluated.


Mid-September status report-|
May 24, 2013 - Three days show no benzene in creek; volumes from wells increase
Williams update on activity near its Parachute facility

Company Response Continuing to Show Progress in Protecting Parachute Creek, Recovering Increasing Volumes of Hydrocarbon Fluids
 •  Three consecutive days of testing show no detectable level of benzene in Parachute Creek
 •  Comprehensive aeration and air sparging program credited with progress shown in removing trace benzene from defined area of the creek as well as from groundwater
 •  Recovering increasing volumes of hydrocarbon fluids from recovery wells; Approximately 203 gallons (4.8 barrels) recovered in the last week; 7,130 gallons (approximately 170 barrels) total

Surface water samples from Parachute Creek indicate that Williams continues to make progress in its remediation efforts to remove benzene from a defined area of Parachute Creek, as well as from groundwater. The last three days of testing (May 21, 22 and 23) have shown no detectable level of benzene in Parachute Creek.

Benzene level detections at the various test locations along Parachute Creek have steadily declined since May 2. For a look at Parachute Creek test results since May 1.

Williams is using air sparging technology to strip benzene from water. Air sparging involves the injection of air into surface water and/or groundwater. It is a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-accepted method for effectively reducing concentrations of certain hydrocarbons from water.

Williams is using pumps to pull hydrocarbon fluids from recovery wells. Williams has recovered about 203 gallons (4.8 barrels) of hydrocarbon fluids from May 17 to May 23. Since the response began on March 8, the company has recovered about 7,130 gallons (approximately 170 barrels) of hydrocarbon fluids from the site.

More information, including remediation plan-|  

May 3, 2013 - Aeration and air sparging helping remove benzene
Williams Deploys Additional Resources to Continue its Focus on Protecting Parachute Creek

 •  Aeration and air sparging technology are helping Williams make progress to remove trace amounts of benzene from defined area of creek
 •  Company increasing its air sparging efforts with additional resources including:
    -  Adding additional blower to increase aeration of Parachute Creek
    -  Adding eight additional vertical sparge wells next to the air sparging trench to strengthen the existing treatment
 •  Parachute Creek sample just upstream of Colorado River confluence shows no benzene
 •  The point where the town of Parachute diverts water for its irrigation well shows no benzene
 •  Colorado Water Quality Control Commission says the actual benzene standard on the creek is 5,300 ug/L (micrograms per liter) to protect aquatic life
 •  145 barrels (60 percent) of hydrocarbon fluids recovered
 •  145 test and recovery sites
 •  Continue to work under supervision of state and federal regulators

Recent water samples from Parachute Creek indicate Williams is making progress in its remediation efforts that are removing hydrocarbons from groundwater and from a defined area of Parachute Creek.

Creek Sample location 6 which is approximately 1,300 feet from the spill site showed benzene levels at 5.3 parts ug/L on May 1. On May 2, the sample showed the level for this test site at 4.7 ug/L.

Other test sample sites downstream remain static (under 2.2 ug/L) or show no detection for benzene.

Full May 3, 2013 information-|  

April 24, 2013 - Williams announces completion of phase 1 - air sparge

April 24, 2013

Williams Update on Activity Near Its Parachute, Colo., Facility
Company Deploys Additional Resources to Continue its Focus on Protecting Parachute Creek

  •  Installing aeration technology in response to trace benzene readings in defined area of Parachute Creek
  •  Parachute Creek sample just upstream of Colorado River confluence shows no benzene
  •  145 barrels (60 percent) of hydrocarbon fluids recovered
  •  142 test and recovery sites
  •  Continue to work under supervision of state and federal regulators
  •  Significant progress in defining the extent of the affected area

Williams today announced completion of phase 1 of the air sparge systems designed to remove volatile organic compounds from groundwater and surface water. Air sparging, which involves the injection of air into surface water and/or groundwater, is an EPA-accepted method for effectively reducing concentrations of volatile organic compounds, including benzene.

Full April 24 press release-|

April 18, 2013 - Benzene detection in Parachute Creek, Garfield County calls community meeting

April 18, 2013
Williams Update on Activity Near Its Parachute, Colo., Facility


Williams today received the first lab results that show a trace amount of benzene at a single location in Parachute Creek. The samples showed a maximum of 2.8 parts per billion; the Environmental Protection Agency's standard for safe drinking water is 5 parts per billion.

In response to the sampling results received today, Williams collected additional real-time samples farther downstream. Those samples found benzene at 1.8 ppb, 1.5 ppb and 1.1 ppb, respectively. Real-time samples taken at the point where the town of Parachute diverts water for its irrigation supply 2.7 miles downstream of the gas facility continues to show no detection of benzene.

Williams continues twice-daily sampling of Parachute Creek at this diversion point. The town of Parachute uses this reservoir to provide irrigation water, not as a source of drinking water. As a precautionary measure, the city of Parachute's irrigation gate on Parachute Creek will remain closed until additional data is collected. The point of benzene detection is approximately 1,200 feet downstream of the pressure gauge that was the source of natural gas liquids discovered nearby on March 8.

Full April 18, press release-|
April 10, 2013 - Williams concludes a failed pressure gauge caused leak

April 10, 2013

Williams Update on Activity Near Its Parachute, Colo., Facility
Company Identifies Source of Leak, Confirms It Was Stopped Jan. 3; Creek Unaffected by Leak
Based on a preliminary analysis of meter data, Williams officials have concluded that a failed pressure gauge is the source of the hydrocarbon fluids the company found last month near its Parachute Gas Plant. The leak was stopped on January 3, 2013, at 12:33 a.m. The gauge was part of a valve set on a 4-inch natural gas liquids pipeline that belongs to Williams Partners.

The company’s evaluation of data from two flow meters on the 4-inch natural gas liquids pipeline shows that the pressure gauge leak started on Dec. 20, 2012. Based on its analysis that employed Environmental Protection Agency methodology regarding the evaporative properties of natural gas liquids, the company estimates that about 80 percent of the leaked volumes vaporized before entering the soil. By the time the leak was stopped on Jan. 3, 2013, the company estimates up to 241 barrels of natural gas liquids entered the soil at the valve location. To date, crews have recovered about 142 barrels of natural gas liquids from the site.

Full press release-|
 

________

Answers for Parachute website

__________________________________________________

resources

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission: To view the documentation related to this incident visit www.cogcc.state.co.us, and click on IMAGES on the left-hand side. Select “Projects” from the drop-down menu, enter 2120 as the unique identifier and click the “search” button.

Responding organizations
Colorado Department of Natural Resources
Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Environmental Protection Agency
Occupational Health and Safety Administration

 
 
Oil and Gas Division
195 West 14th Street, Building D
Rifle, CO 81650
map-|

Kirby Wynn
Oil & Gas Liaison
970-625-5905 | phone
Email Kirby

 
 
   
 
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