Environmental

Anadarko Benzene Spill Cleanup Underway In Colorado

dump truck earth mover dirt US Department of Defense image Afghanistan 315x210 Anadarko Benzene Spill Cleanup Underway In ColoradoCleanup efforts are underway to remove tons of benzene contaminated soil and water from an Anadarko battery tank site in Dacono, Colorado, a community just east of Boulder.

The Texas-based petroleum corporation notified the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC), the agency that regulates the state’s fossil fuels industry, of the toxic benzene spill, which it discovered when excavating an old pump earlier this month.

Benzene is a cancer-causing chemical that is formed in natural processes, such as volcanoes and forest fires, but most exposures to benzene result from oil and gas production, factory waste, and other human activities.

According to the American Cancer Society, benzene is highly toxic to humans because it affects the blood. Exposure to benzene also promotes lethal blood cancers, especially acute myeloid leukemia (AML), Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS), and lymphomas.

Benzene in its liquid form evaporates quickly, making it hard to quantify how much of the chemical has been released. Anadarko has reportedly removed 200 barrels of contaminated groundwater from the site. According to The Denver Channel, laboratory tests found that benzene was present in the water samples at 900 times the maximum amount allowed by the state.

One witness who flies model airplanes near the affected site told The Denver Channel that he watched crews hauling out the contaminated soil and water.

“I saw a string of three dump trucks come in here and then haul dirt out and they made three trips in one day. And then the second day they were still hauling dirt out,” Tom Eubanks told The Denver Channel.

According to the report submitted to the COGCC, Anadarko has removed about 10,000 cubic feet of contaminated soil from the site.

It’s not yet clear whether the benzene has affected nearby water wells. The COGCC told The Denver Channel that the sampling continues.

Inhalation of airborne benzene in its gas form is the most common way humans are exposed to the chemical, but benzene can also enter the body and the bloodstream through skin contact.