Oil Spill in Fort Collins

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 @ 02:11 PM gHale


A failed valve on a tank battery spilled 150 barrels of oil Thursday, which forced crews from local, state and federal agencies to respond to north Fort Collins, CO.

The spill occurred Thursday afternoon at a crude oil processing facility operated by Prospect Energy in northern Fort Collins, said officials at Poudre Fire Authority (PFA).

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A pipe valve on a tank battery used to store crude oil failed released 150 barrels of oil — roughly 6,500 gallons — onto the ground Thursday, said Madeline Noblett, PFA spokeswoman. This is the largest oil spill on record in Larimer County, officials said.

The spill began about 1:30 p.m. Thursday at 1229 E. Douglas Road, also known as Larimer County Road 54. It lasted roughly 45 minutes, said Ward Giltner, a managing member of Prospect Energy, the Denver-based company in charge of the oil processing facility.

Prospect Energy staff noticed the spill within about 10 minutes and called for backup to replace the faulty valve and stop the flow of crude oil. The company had up to 24 hours to report the spill to local authorities and waited to notify them until 9:30 a.m. Friday because leaders wanted to “get a handle on the situation” first, Giltner said.

Prospect’s faulty valve has been sent to a lab for inspection, said Giltner, who added the design was to carry up to 700 pounds of pressure and had 15 pounds of pressure on it at the time of the spill.

“It is not believed there is an imminent risk to public health,” Noblett said Friday, adding evacuation of nearby homes was not required as air quality did not appear to have been compromised. “Crews are still determining the magnitude of the spill.”

Water quality engineers with Fort Collins stressed that drinking water in the area was safe. Responders also said the potential was “very remote” the spill could impact wildlife or other water sources in the area — drinking water in Fort Collins comes from the Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir. Most of the oil was concentrated on the top soil, and oil was contained to the spill site.

Oil ends up piped into the facility from nearby wells.

PFA was on scene along with the Fort Collins Office of Emergency Management, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Prospect Energy is the former owner of the Fort Collins Field north of the city. The company has filed incident reports for 11 other spills in Larimer County since 2011, but this spill is the largest by far.



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