The natural gas pipeline responsible for the major leak that contaminated Parachute Creek in Garfield County, Colorado, is scheduled for replacement.
The Daily Sentinel reports that Williams, a leading gas company in the North America region, is making plans to replace the liquid gas pipeline after the U.S. Department of Transportation declared authority to regulate the line.
Williams hopes to launch the replacement plan this year, which involves the installation of a new line about 2,000 feet in length and 6 inches in diameter. The line will be fed through a bore 400 feet in length at least 17 feet beneath Parachute Creek. The line will join a gas processing plant to a tank farm, which will allow liquid gas to be sent to a processing plant in Rio Blanco County.
The current pipeline that tunnels beneath the creek is responsible for a natural gas leak in 2013 through a broken pressure gauge above ground. The leak dumped about 50,000 gallons of gas into the Parachute Creek area, 40,000 of which were vaporized into the air and 10,000 gallons were absorbed into the ground. Extremely high levels of benzene contaminated the groundwater and creek water.
A cleanup effort has successfully removed the benzene from the water as well as thousands of gallons of natural gas from the ground, but is still ongoing.
Benzene, a key ingredient in gasoline, is a carcinogen and has been determined by the American Cancer Society to be a contributor to the most lethal of blood cancers, acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Exposure to benzene has also been linked to the development of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS), lymphomas and aplastic anemia.
The new pipeline plans involve a watershed process, which will help protect the drinking water supply of the Parachute community against any future benzene contamination.