Federal and state regulators are inspecting a Colorado oil field that experienced a second significant oil spill when tankers damaged by the devastating flood that recently rocked the region began leaking Wednesday, according to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 323 barrels of oil – roughly 13,500 gallons – have leaked so far from an Anadarko Petroleum oil farm along the St. Vrain River.
The Texas-based company reported to the Colorado Oil and Gas Association Wednesday they were aware of two tank batteries that had spilled at least 5,250 gallons of crude oil into the South Platte River. In response, Anadarko shut down more than 10 percent of their wells and isolated 20 miles of gathering lines which had been as part of a safety evaluation.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has been aerially surveying the area and mapping impacted sites.
Amy Mall, a senior policy analyst for the National Resources Defense Council, told National Geographic groundwater contamination from the spills was not a major concern. Unlike hydraulic fracturing, where fissures result from drilling into shale to expose natural gas, the affected wells in the area have already been drilled and appear to be active.
The on-going search and rescue effort has proven successful so far, as NBC News reported the number of missing people has dramatically dropped from a high of 1,200 to about 200. However, property damage costs are expected to shoot through the roof. EQECAT, a catastrophe risk modeling firm, projected damage costs upward of $2 billion, split 50-50 between personal property and commercial and government property.
The U.S. Department of Transportation pledged $30 million in emergency relief funds to Colorado Wednesday in an effort to restore flood-damaged highways, roads and bridges. According to the agency, preliminary estimates showed roads had suffered $40 million in damages, while bridges have reached $112 million in repairs.