Colorado flood disaster: hundreds of fracking well pads underwater
“Another tank overturned and a fracking chemical warehouse flooded…” As alarmed citizens report the damage to each other out West, is anybody listening?
UPDATE 9/17/2013: An industry spokesperson in CO are now saying there are “thousands” of flooded fracking well pads. To see photos of leaning and upended storage tanks and flooded fracking well pads, see this post by Texas Sharon: Shocking Photos and an Update from the Colorado Fracking Flood Zone.
For years, concerned residents, activists and scientists from Texas, Pennsylvania and other fracked states have sounded the warning bell against fracking in floodplains. The 30-foot wall of water displacing Colorado residents right now is worsened by the fires which took out trees which would have otherwise lessened this extreme flood. This is a “feedback loop” in which one aspect of climate disaster — fires — worsens another aspect — floods. Floods will continue to be more extreme and frequent due to climate change, which is greatly exacerbated by fracking. Meanwhile the danger from fracking chemicals, condensate, and related toxins leaking into waterways in floodplains is now acute.
In Pennsylvania there is plenty of fracking on floodplains, so call your State Senator to call for a statewide moratorium NOW and a permanent ban on fracking, storage facilities, compressor stations, or any aspect of shale gas infrastructure in floodplains right now. Join moratorium rallies this Wednesday: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.
by TXsharon on September 15, 2013
I will update this post as residents send me pictures and video.
We need the national news stations to go cover the environmental disaster that’s happening in Colorado right now.
This picture taken by a resident is from yesterday.
From an email.
I see you’ve noticed the underwater wells in Weld County, Colorado. Amazing; we’ve emailed the Denver TV stations, other media, and state and local politicians. We’ve sent pictures that our members have taken. It’s like the media and politicians have been TOLD not to say anything about it. There has been no mention of the gas wells on the Denver newscasts either last night or this evening although all stations have had extensive and extended flood coverage. You can see underwater wells in the background of some of the newscast videos, and yet the reporters say absolutely nothing.
Here’s a picture one of our members took yesterday in Weld County, Colorado. We’ve got tons more on our website. Check it out. The tanks are tipping and, in some cases, have fallen over. They have to be leaking toxins into the flood waters. There have to be hundreds if not thousands of underwater well pads in Weld County as a result of the flooding.
Please publicize this in Texas since our media people and politicians have gone silent!
East Boulder County United
UPDATE: The locals are very busy right now taking calls from the media. So far no calls from the local media though. Last I heard it is continuing to rain.
They reported to EPA emergency under report number 1060249.
UPDATE: You can see more photos HERE. Another tank overturned and a fracking chemical warehouse that was flooded. I did not take the photos.
UPDATE: From the Daily Camera:
Regulators say they agree these well sites could pose a contamination risk, and they will get out to assess the damage as soon as it’s feasible.
Lafayette-based anti-fracking activist Cliff Willmeng said he spent two days “zig-zagging” across Weld and Boulder counties documenting flooded drilling sites, mostly along the drainageway of the St. Vrain River. He observed “hundreds” of wells that were inundated. He also saw many condensate tanks that hold waste material from fracking at odd angles or even overturned.
“It’s clear that the density of the oil and gas activity there did not respect where the water would go,” Willmeng said. “What we immediately need to know is what is leaking and we need a full detailed report of what that is. This is washing across agricultural land and into the waterways. Now we have to discuss what type of exposure the human population is going to have to suffer through.”
A spokesman for the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission said the agency is aware of the potential for contamination from flooded drilling sites, but there simply is no way to get to those sites while flooding is ongoing and while resources are concentrated on saving lives.
Apparently all sides agree that there is a contamination risk. So I hope the industry apologists will, at least, stop using my bandwidth trying to convince us otherwise.
by TXsharon on September 14, 2013
The Dallas City Plan Commission should be feeling pretty good right about now. They voted to deny permits to drill and build a gas processing plant in the park land flood plain. Colorado residents aren’t so lucky because in Weld County the flood plains that is filled with oil & gas wells is now covered with water. Surprise, Surprise.
The water is washing away under pipelines causing them to separate and leak. “Oil drums, tanks and other industrial debris mixed into the swollen river flowing northeast.”
In a statement, Gary Wockner, of Clean Water Action, said “Fracking and operating oil and gas facilities in floodplains is extremely risky. Flood waters can topple facilities and spread oil, gas, and cancer-causing fracking chemicals across vast landscapes making contamination and clean-up efforts exponentially worse and more complicated.” Denver Post
Here is a video of Longmont.
We hope our friends in Colorado are safe. Lot of us downstreamers are watching.