DENVER (AP) – Colorado health officials on Tuesday issued a new cease-and-desist order to Lone Pine Gas Inc., alleging violations of the Colorado Water Quality Control Act.

The company has oil and natural gas wells about 10 miles west of Walden in Jackson County.

It has a permit to discharge treated produced water into Spring Gulch Creek, but the new cease-and-desist order said the company has been discharging copper and iron at levels above what’s allowed under its permit.

The order warns of fines of up to $10,000 per day for water-quality violations. Lone Pine Gas has 30 days to respond to the order.

Stephen Shute, a minority owner in the company, said he was reviewing the notice.

Lone Pine Gas received a similar notice of violation in 2010, also from the water quality control division of the state health department, ordering it to stop polluting the creek. The company was still allowed to operate while it worked to meet conditions of its discharge permit.

In April, state health officials said that on multiple occasions last year, the company had discharged effluent with copper and iron levels higher than allowed. Some violations also were recorded this year.

The new cease-and-desist order gives Lone Pine 45 days to identify possible upgrades so that it can consistently meet conditions of its permit.

Lone Pine Gas also has come under scrutiny for oil spills dating back to 2006. Last December, a state oil and gas inspector detected an oil leak from Lone Pine Gas facilities extending for more than a mile along Spring Gulch Creek, which eventually flows into the North Fork of the North Platte River. The Colorado Department of Natural Resources says a cleanup has been under way for some time.

Staff from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been assessing damage to the creek.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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