- Gentlemen, start your drones: Judge’s ruling opens door for commercial use
- Soldier who hid, bragged about not saluting flag to be punished — in secret
- ‘Maverick’ of the seas: ‘Top Gun’ school for U.S. ship officers to launch
- Putin declares Sochi Paralympics open amid Ukrainian protest
- ‘In Jesus name, we pray’ sparks ire at Ohio council meeting
- Navy’s first laser weapon ready for prime time; drone killer to deploy this summer
- Billionaire backer: Rick Santorum ‘needs to be heard’ in 2016
- Obamacare fallout: 49 percent pessimistic; 45 percent ‘scared’
- DHS accused of holding U.S. citizen at airport, using emails to pry into her sex life
- Seattle socialist: Minimum-wage discussion skewed by ‘right-wing’ GAO analysis
Colorado finds no floodwater pollution from fracking
Green groups’ warnings not backed by data
DENVER — The environmental disaster forecast by anti-fracking activists after last month’s epic Colorado floods didn’t quite materialize.
The results of water samplings conducted Sept. 26 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment found “no evidence of pollutants from oil and gas spills in rivers and streams affected by flooding,” according to an update released Tuesday.
“Although much attention was focused on spills from oil and gas operations, it is reassuring the sampling shows no evidence of oil and gas pollutants,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, the department’s executive director and chief medical officer. “There were elevated E.coli levels, as we expected, in some locations.”
The department’s findings come days after Environmental Protection AgencyRegion 8 spokesman Matthew Allen told EnergyWire that the flood-related spills were “small compared to the solid waste” from sewage treatment plants.
“What we’ve really seen is this kind of slow trickle of smaller spills, and all are specifically related to the flood,” said Mr. Allen, as reported by Energy in Depth. “It wasn’t user error or improper operations; it all falls in the act-of-God category.”
Anti-fracking groups fueled dozens of media reports and online posts declaring that the floods had released toxic levels of oil, gas and fracking fluid into Colorado’s waterways, even though state and industry officials said repeatedly that no hydraulic fracturing was taking place at the time.
“We’re talking about tens of thousands of toxic chemicals floating down the river, potentially ending up in communities, next to homes, next to agriculture land,” said Sam Schabacker of Food & Water Watch told Northern Colorado Community Radio in a Sept. 27 report. “We are just beginning to see the extent of the devastation.”
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reported Tuesday that crews are tracking 13 notable releases of oil totaling 43,134 gallons, an amount of seepage that is expected to be dissipated by rushing rivers and streams.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, described the spills last month as “very small relative to the huge flow of water coming through.”
A greater concern for public-health officials is the estimated 220 million gallons of raw and partially treated sewage that poured into waterways during the flooding.
The department collected 29 samples from eight rivers affected by the flooding. While the study found no sign of oil and gas pollutants, high levels of E.coli bacteria were found in the Boulder Creek and Big Thompson River watershed.
“E.coli indicates human and animal bacteria from untreated sewage that can make people sick,” the department said in its statement. “However, outbreaks of communicable diseases or illnesses after floods seldom are seen and have not been reported with the recent flooding in Colorado.”
Five public drinking water systems remain on boil or bottled-water advisories: Jamestown, Lyons, Mountain Meadow Water Supply, Lower Narrows Campground and Sylvan Dale Ranch.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Stars not aligned with polls on Keystone
- Former Greenpeace insider Patrick Moore who questions climate change says he can stand the heat
- Pot shot: GOP candidates see hit to Colorado's image from legal weed
- Arizona veto likely to chill other religious freedom bills
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Taxpayers must pay the freight for over-budget train projects
- Kim Jong-un calls for execution of 33 Christians
- Rand Paul wins 2014 CPAC straw poll, Ted Cruz finishes a distant second
- Senate Democrats, Republicans spar over restoring unemployment benefits
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- CURL: The modern GOP really is Reagan's 'Big Tent' party
- Bill Clinton poses for photo with Bunny Ranch prostitutes
- U.S. deploys 12 F-16 fighter jets to Poland as exercise in response to Ukraine situation
- High schooler suing parents for money shot down by judge
- Six Senate seats could hinge on Keystone pipeline
- Russias Putin nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Pope Francis meets his 'mini-me'
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Winter storm hits states — again