DENVER (CBS4) – Oil and gas officials and state regulators say it’s unclear if flooded drilling sites around Colorado will result in any groundwater or soil contamination.
“We have thousands of facilities impacted,” acknowledged Tisha Schuller with the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, an industry trade group. “We have thousands of wells impacted with anything from standing water to flowing water.”
But Schuller said many oil and gas wells were shut down before the storm arrived last week in an attempt at preventing environmental contamination.
Asked if it was possible any wells leaked fracking chemicals, Schuller said, “We won’t know until the waters recede.”
Anti-fracking activists have posted numerous photos and videos showing tanks tilted, submerged or off their moorings at Colorado oil and gas wells.
“We have seen the social media frenzy regarding pictures of oil and gas facilities under water,” said Schuller. “We ask that individuals or officials who have these photos please share these with specific locations so we can provide an operational status of that location.”
Some of the pictures were taken by Cliff Willment, an anti-fracking activist in Lafayette.
“We know there is a danger of toxicology in Weld County right now. We just are working on trying to determine the extent of it. Our fear is that there is going to be contamination related to the oil and gas industry that is going to have various routes of exposure to the human population,” Willment said.
Todd Hartman from the Colorado Department of Natural Resources said the state is “aggressively assessing the impact of the flood to oil and gas facilities.”
Hartman noted that many sites are currently inaccessible and responders are focusing on lives, property and roadways.
“But as the situation improves and more information is available, COGCC (Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission) will be working with state and local authorities, operators and the public to assess risks, and where necessary, provide environmental response and mediation,” Hartman said.
Colorado Floods: How To Help
The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.
– Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com