Bob Wldrop posted this today in the Running On Empty group.
More bad news from Colorado.
Bob Waldrop, OKC
http://www.ipermie.net How to permaculture your urban lifestyle
Colorado communities are still reeling from the epic rainfall that caused
deadly flooding last week
But in addition to the thousands of damaged homes, buildings and washed
out roads and bridges, another major concern is the many oil and gas
wells that were flooded.
On Saturday,The Denver Post
an oil pipeline had burst and was spilling crude into the flood waters:
Oil drums, tanks and other industrial debris mixed into the swollen
river flowing northeast. County officials did not give locations of
where the pipeline broke and where other pipelines were compromised.
While the water levels in the South Platte appear to be receding
slightly, bridges over the South Platte have been closed as water
overflowed the bridges at least as far east as Morgan County.
Oil and gas industry crews have been monitoring wells drilled into
the flood plain east of Greeley in Weld County.
One pipeline has broken and is leaking, Weld County Emergency
Manager Roy Rudisill. Other industry pipelines are sagging as
saturated sediment erodes around the expanding river.
Industry crews “are shutting in the lines, shutting in the wells,”
In a statement, Gary Wockner, of Clean Water Action, said “Fracking
and operating oil and gas facilities in floodplains is extremely
risky. Flood waters can topple facilities and spread oil, gas, and
cancer-causing fracking chemicals across vast landscapes making
contamination and clean-up efforts exponentially worse and more
reported on this and asked, “Why is there such a heavy presence of the
fracking, oil and gas industries in a floodplain? It’s as if there was
no forethought at all to the potential complications of flash-flooding.”
/Quick aside:/this concern over drilling in a flood zone is the same
reasonArkansans are concerned about an industrial hog farm
built near the Buffalo National River. All it takes is one flood to
contaminate the river and wherever the flood waters happen to flow.
Back in Boulder, on Monday,Erica Meltzer at The Daily Camera
on how the flood waters had reached fracking wells.
The concentration of oil and gas wells in flood-prone areas speaks
to one more risk of what [environmental activists] see as a
Regulators say they agree these well sites could pose a
contamination risk, and they will get out to assess the damage as
soon as it’s feasible.
Of course, by now it is too late to prevent contamination. The damage
has been done.
Lafayette-based anti-fracking activist Cliff Willmeng said he spent
two days “zig-zagging" across Weld and Boulder counties documenting
flooded drilling sites, mostly along the drainageway of the St.
Vrain River. He observed “hundreds”; of wells that were inundated. He
also saw many condensate tanks that hold waste material from
fracking at odd angles or even overturned.
“It’s clear that the density of the oil and gas activity there did
not respect where the water would go,” Willmeng said. “What we
immediately need to know is what is leaking and we need a full
detailed report of what that is. This is washing across agricultural
land and into the waterways. Now we have to discuss what type of
exposure the human population is going to have to suffer through.”
According to The Daily Camera, Todd Hartman, a spokesman for the
Department of Natural Resources claims “many operators have added
security to tanks, like chains to make sure they don’t float away.”
However, The Daily Camera also notes that “aerial photographs have shown
floating and drifting tanks in some flooded areas.”
After a flood like this, simply getting clean drinking water can be a
serious challenge. Now, in addition to digging their ruined homes and
possessions out of the mud and wreckage, Coloradans (and anyone
downstream) have to worry about toxic chemicals from gas and oil wells
getting mixed into the groundwater and on farmland. What a mess.
There are already enough problems with fracking to justify banning the
drilling practice in certain areas. What has happened in Colorado just
adds to that argument. This should be a lesson for towns and cities
across the US that have allowed fracking to take root in their
communities. Don’t allow the oil and gas industry to drill in a flood plane.