A storage tank containing crude oil spilled into the Cache la Poudre River in northern Colorado last week, releasing 7,500 gallons into the water. The spill was caused by high floodwaters, according to the newspaper the Coloradoan. “Recent high river flows undercut the bank where the storage tank was sitting, causing the tank to drop and breaking a valve.” About 178 barrels of oil were released into the river. Fortunately, the spill has been contained to a distance of a quarter-mile downstream and no sources of drinking water have been affected.
The operator of the tank, Noble Energy, reported the spill to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Friday, June 20th. Clean-up crews are working on removing the oil from the water, and oil from a tank next to the spill tank has been drained in a precautionary measure. The spill is not ongoing.
Flooding is not a new concern for storage tanks in Colorado, as flooding last fall led to at least 10 spills, releasing 43,000 gallons of oil and 18,000 gallons of fracking wastewater. Though the 7,500-gallon spill in the Cache la Poudre River is not considered to be a large amount, it is significant in that it is the only river in the state designated as a National Wild and Scenic River.