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Colorado and industry working to assess damage in flooded oil fields

By: Mark Jaffe and Austin Briggs, The Denver Post
September 17, 2013 Updated: September 17, 2013 at 8:59 am
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photo - WELD COUNTY, CO. - SEPTEMBER 16:  A drilling derrick near Greeley stands in land flooded by the South Platte River. Aerial photographs of the Platte River flooding cities and farms in Weld County Colorado. (Photo By Tim Rasmussen/The Denver Post)
WELD COUNTY, CO. - SEPTEMBER 16: A drilling derrick near Greeley stands in land flooded by the South Platte River. Aerial photographs of the Platte River flooding cities and farms in Weld County Colorado. (Photo By Tim Rasmussen/The Denver Post) 

Colorado's richest oil field — the Denver-Julesburg Basin — is buried in floodwaters, raising operational and environmental concerns, as state and industry officials work to get a handle on the problem.

Thousands of wells and operating sites have been affected — some remain in rushing waters, officials said.

"The scale is unprecedented," said Mike King, executive director of the Colorado Department of Natural Resources. "We will have to deal with environmental contamination from whatever source."

Any pollution from oil fields likely will be mixed with a stew of agricultural pesticides, sewage, gasoline from service stations and other contaminants, King said.

"As far as we know, all wells affected by flooding have been shut," said Tisha Schuller, president of the Colorado Oil and Gas Association, a trade group.

Read more here.

 

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