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Residents Voice Concerns After Parachute Creek Leak

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

PARACHUTE, Colo. (CBS) – Colorado health officials say there is no public health danger from chemicals leaking into groundwater in Parachute but dozens of people had questions about the incident.

“We’re the watchdog group for Western Colorado,” said Leslie Robinson with the Grand Valley Citizens Alliance at meeting Monday night to answer those questions.

About 150 people were at the meeting, voicing concerns about the leak of natural gas liquids, saying those hydrocarbon chemicals could taint the creek.

The leak was discovered March 13 and the cleanup continues.

Robinson is among many residents who feel there has been a lack of transparency from both state agencies and the company involved — the Williams Co.

Robinson complained of a wait-and-see attitude rather than being proactive about getting rid of the chemicals.

Matt Lepore, the director of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said communication is key.

“People are concerned about what’s going on and it’s important to keep them informed,” he said.

The chemicals are leaking from the groundwater into the creek, where they then dilute and evaporate.

Still small levels of benzene have been detected but in the creek but below a level dangerous to humans.

The Williams Co. says it is working on the problem.

“On any given day we have 20 or 25 people working on this,” said Dave Keylor, a vice president and general manager of Williams. “We’ll be here until it’s cleaned up. I can’t tell you for sure how long that will be.”

It’s the disparity between the cleanup process and the company’s attitude that has some of those residents still questioning what’s really going on.

“To call this a small event yet this will takes years to clean up is an oxymoron,” Robinson said.

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