Pressure Gauge Cause of Pipeline Leak

Monday, April 15, 2013 @ 06:04 PM gHale

A failed pressure gauge on a pipeline was the source of a leak that resulted in high benzene levels in the groundwater hundreds of feet from a hydrocarbon leak near Parachute, CO.

The Williams Cos. reported contaminated soil in March and found this past week that a failed pressure gauge on a pipeline was the source of the leak, but Colorado state officials are still investigating the incident.

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An April 10 statement from Todd Hartman, communications officer for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), said Williams’ identification of a faulty gauge attached to an above-ground valve as the source “provides a possible explanation of a release in this area.”

State officials said Friday that sampling from a new monitoring well about 1,400 feet from the presumed source and about 10 feet from Parachute Creek found benzene in the groundwater at 340 parts per billion. The drinking water standard is 5 parts per billion.

The state said six new monitoring points have gone up in that same area, and crews continue to pump from trenches along the north side of the creek to enhance groundwater flow away from the creek.

Officials have recovered about 6,000 gallons of hydrocarbons so far.

The state today also said diesel-range organics (DROs) were at between 0.71 and 0.49 parts per million in the creek about two miles downstream from the leak site, where the town of Parachute diverts water for an irrigation reservoir. However, it noted recent creek sampling in the investigation area has shown no such detections.

Officials have also detected DROs intermittently upstream of the leak site, and may come from sources such as stormwater runoff from roads. The state notes that several industrial sites lie between the reservoir diversion point and the leak site.

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