The most recent spike is being identified as a possible “Raw Natural Gas Leak.”
On July 11th, a short VOC spike at Soaring Eagle park was detected around 7:45 PM by Boulder AIR. These findings were also confirmed and supported by similar data captured by AJAX sensors. This plume was characterized as being “very rich in methane and VOC’s” that “points toward a petroleum hydrocarbon source.” The report concluded this event most likely came from a “raw natural gas release” and most likely “originated from relatively close emission source” to the Soaring Eagle Park monitoring location.
The report cited “remarkably high concentration of benzene, approximately 9.6 ppb” which represented close to “100 times increase from the concentrations seen in the samples before and after the event.” Broomfield’s other air monitoring company, AJAX, agreed that these maximum benzene levels were likely correct. Ajax’s PID sensors measured “a 12.6 ppb benzene peak for 1-minute during the event, which supports Detlev’s 10-minute average of 9.6 ppb of benzene in an event that lasted 10 minutes.”
Boulder Air monitoring stated that levels recorded in this incident were never recorded at the Boulder Reservoir and have only been seen a few times with readings up to 10 ppb, at Union Reservoir.
After reading the July 17 report on the July 11 spike, Council Member Lim had many questions regarding this event, which are detailed on the Oil and Gas Dashboard. One of the questions Council Member Lim asked is if this event could have originated from the Livingston Site. Both expert groups agreed that it was difficult to attribute this situation to this particular site, though AJAX stated that they “cannot rule out any source within a mile or two of the Soaring Eagle site.” In addition to the Livingston Site, there are multiple legacy well sites, including the plugged and abandoned Davis-43 well, which are located within one to two miles of this location.
Council Members Anderson, Henkel and Lim have been following this air quality event since it was first reported by a resident who happened to look at the Boulder Air Graph. Council Member Lim also expressed concerns about how this data was being monitored, since they were not made aware of this event by Staff but by a resident. Boulder AIR confirmed that this incident sent out an alert, which was sent to at least three people at the City. Tami Yellico and Meagan Weisner were two of the people listed as recipients. The third needs to be confirmed. Boulder Air stated that Broomfield Staff reached out to them about this incident and that “the alert system seems to be working and people are paying attention and responding to them.” It is unclear why Council Members or residents were not made aware of this incident sooner.
While the July 11th spike is the first to be recorded with this much detail and to be attributed to a possible raw natural gas release, other spikes have been recorded in the same vicinity as this one. Since February, there have been 12 total spikes recorded. Links to each report are below.
Nearby residents who have been experiencing health impacts throughout this project question if these spikes are part of the problem. Others raise questions about possible explosion risks considering many of the gasses detected are flammable. Regardless of the concern, all residents agree: the mysterious source of these spikes needs to be identified and the root cause needs to be addressed.
Click here to read the full report on the July 11th possible raw natural gas release:
Click here to read Council Questions and Responses regarding this event:
Links to all previous events are listed here:
2/1/20 Livingston 1 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1fOn9OLNFRZuc8cWL6f9vW92HoscyWxqA/view
3/6/20 Livingston 2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1kivSOla7o2mDq9LRjSQiGBXE5guxr91S/view
3/17/20 Livingston 2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1-MM42ITVz4OUxhN0bCRdDrQEkmKIqZ4r/view
3/24/20 Livingston 2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FIeTuDhtLHceWkkoIBCnOfNbCP4GwFU4/view
3/25/20 Livingston 2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1FIeTuDhtLHceWkkoIBCnOfNbCP4GwFU4/view
4/17/20 Livingston 1 https://drive.google.com/file/d/10pux06pltZn00AIpydlmIrUSAVIpCaug/view
4/30/20 Soaring Eagle https://drive.google.com/file/d/1xSIu-n0dyiSqaJ21R2mtVuYdamuY6q-R/view
5/25/20 Livingston 2 and 3 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1UJ12iw6mS7O_JdK8KA-f_2PLM2dJKz3y/view
7/3/20 Livingston 1 https://drive.google.com/file/d/1oJeusqdCVQ_L13HFtoWf_c1ES02FXRhd/view
7/11/20 Soaring Eagle https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WnnZG4zSaXMmRsQGFLD9PEdiyW4bCmpc/view