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Governor tours damaged oil tank sites after at least 25,000 gallons spill into Colorado waters

9:11 AM, Sep 22, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - The amount of oil spilled into Colorado waters has exceeded 25,000 gallons, as of Saturday.

According to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), that's the equivalent of two 300-barrel oil storage tanks.

Governor Hickenlooper got an up close look at one such spot on Sunday. He went on a tour with a representative from Anadarko, which is one of the companies that owns tanks that are leaking.

The Governor says that given the force of the floodwaters, the spillage could be much worse than what we've seen.
"They did lose about 125 barrels and I think some of it was produced water," Hickenlooper said. "But again, in the universe, that's something the floodwaters probably churned up and spread out enough. But, the ultimate goal is zero and we're going to go back and so how can we do better. I guarantee they're going to go back and try and get to zero."

On Saturday Noble Energy reported that oil and produced water spilled at some of its sites.

Produced water is the water that comes up with oil from deep underground and is separated out. In Colorado, some of it is evaporated in pits and some is even sprayed on dirt roads for dust control provided they are far enough from public water supplies.

Some of the produced water was always underground with the oil. It can have a high salt content and hydrocarbons in it. Some of it comes from injection (fracking) because most of the fracking mix is water.

Anti fracking groups say produced water contains unsafe levels of fracking chemicals, especially early in the life of a well.

High water and muddy conditions are making it difficult for oil and gas regulatory agencies to conduct ground survey of the wells impacted by the Colorado floods.

Todd Hartman with the Colorado Department of Natural Resources says COGCC has assessed approximately 35 percent of impacted areas so far.

The number of locations with visible evidence of oil spills has increased to 12.

Here's the environmentalist take:

The government notes that the composition of produced water varies greatly by site. Here's the Department of Energy's take:

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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