6,400 gallons of oil spill in Fort Collins, Colorado at
at a crude oil processing facility operated by Prospect Energy
Jason Pohl and Jacy Marmaduke , Coloradoan
6:14 p.m. MDT October 28, 2016
(Photo: Austin Humphreys/The Coloradoan)
Crews from local, state and federal agencies responded to north Fort Collins Friday for an oil spill estimated at 150 barrels (6,400 gallons), the largest oil spill on record in Larimer County.
Poudre Fire Authority crews were notified of the spill Friday morning at a crude oil processing facility operated by Prospect Energy at 1229 E. Larimer County Road 54, also known as Douglas Road, in the far northern reaches of Fort Collins.
A pipe valve on a tank battery used to store crude oil failed, releasing approximately 150 barrels of oil — roughly 6,500 gallons — onto the ground sometime Thursday, said Madeline Noblett, PFA spokeswoman.
The valve was replaced Thursday, which stopped the spill. It was not immediately clear why there was a delay between the start of the spill and it being reported to local emergency response agencies.
"It is not believed there is an imminent risk to public health," Noblett said Friday, adding that evacuation of nearby homes was not required as air quality did not appear to have been compromised. "Crews are still determining the magnitude of the spill."
Water quality engineers with Fort Collins stressed that drinking water in the area was safe. Responders also said the potential was "very remote" the spill could impact wildlife or other water sources in the area — drinking water in Fort Collins comes from the Poudre River and Horsetooth Reservoir. Most of the oil was concentrated on the top soil, and oil was contained to the spill site.
Oil is piped into the facility from nearby wells.
PFA was on scene along with the Fort Collins Office of Emergency Management, Larimer County Office of Emergency Management, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Prospect Energy is the former owner of the Fort Collins Field north of the city. The company has filed incident reports for 11 other spills in Larimer County since 2011, but this spill is the largest by far. It is also the largest oil spill on record in Larimer County, according to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission data.
The spill happened just north of the Hearthfire subdivision, where a cluster of wells comprise the bulk of oil and gas exploration within city limits.
The last large-scale oil spill in the Fort Collins area was in 2014, when a Noble Energy storage tank damaged by flooding release 7,500 gallons of crude oil into the Poudre River in Windsor. That spill occurred in Weld County.