Test results from the Colorado Health Department indicate there is “no evidence” of pollution from oil and gas spills related to the devastating September floods that destroyed roads, homes and businesses across 4,500 square miles north of Denver.
Worries about contamination from damaged oil and gas infrastructure was raised in the days following the floods, as pictures of damaged roads and homes mixed with pictures of tipped storage tanks. The floods also ripped pipelines and sewer lines and damaged wastewater treatment plants.
The department took 29 water samples in streams. The locations ranged from the foothills, down the South Platte River, to near the state line.
“Although much attention was focused on spills from oil and gas operations, it is reassuring the sampling shows no evidence of oil and gas pollutants. There were elevated E. coli levels, as we expected, in some locations”, Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the department said.
In addition to testing water samples for pollutants associated with oil and gas spills and bacteria, the department also tested for metals that could have been released from mining areas. An analysis of these samples is ongoing. The department will release the results once the analysis is completed.