Strong petroleum odor problems are continuing to be reported daily at periodic intervals by residents living near the Interchange B Pad (156 and Huron) where Extraction is in the process of drilling 10 wells. Residents with breathing difficulties are being forced to stay in their closed-up homes at these times.
Inspectors from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) have visited the site in response to complaints, even as late as 9 pm on Friday evening, May 3, in response to an evening complaint. However, by the time they arrive the odor has dissipated. In response to the inspector’s inquiry to the Extraction work crew about Friday evening industrial activity, they stated that “they were not doing anything unusual, just drilling.” North Metro Fire and Rescue did smell the strong petroleum odor one evening, but their sensors did not pick up any toxicity.
Residents have questioned if the City could ask Extraction to detail exactly what activity was happening at a certain time or if the City would be allowed to place a 24/7 camera inside the wall structure to better correlate activity with intermittent odors. Possible odor sources might include drill cuttings being moved, addition of drilling mud, changes in the chiller, refueling going on inside the walls, or trucks entering.
If you encounter issues related to the Extraction project, you can use these resources to register your complaints to the City and State agencies http://broomfieldconcerned.org/register-your-concerns/
You can read citizen complaints reported to the City here.
From the Operator Agreement on p. 20:
“48. Odor. Odor emitting from Well Sites must be controlled. Operator to prevent odors from oil and gas operations by proactively addressing and, to the extent possible, resolving complaints filed by impacted members of the community, in coordination with City public health staff. Operator must use a filtration system or additives to the drilling and fracturing fluids to minimize odors. Operator is prohibited from masking odors from any oil and gas facility site by using masking fragrances.”
UPDATE: In a 5/4 response to a nearby resident’s complaint, Director of Strategic Initiatives Tami Yellico replied:
“The following information is being submitted in response to your emails about the intermittent odors in your area:”
“1. The odor mitigation requirements included in the Operator Agreement are intended to minimize odors associated with drilling operations and other phases of oil and gas development. While these measures significantly reduce odors, they will not completely eliminate them. Drilling operations are not ‘odor free’ as the operator is using drilling mud that contains hydrocarbons and there are drill cuttings that are managed onsite before being transported for disposal at an approved offsite location. Use of mud chillers, the addition of odorants, etc. are being utilized as required by the Operator Agreement. Extraction is adding more odorant than usual to minimize odors. Additionally, the drill cuttings are being mixed with dirt to further reduce odors.”
“2. Electric rigs are being utilized to eliminate diesel emissions. In addition, the number of diesel powered vehicles/equipment has been minimized. The typical equipment onsite would be the cement mixer, a front end loader to load the drill cuttings into the truck, and the truck that is hauling the drill cuttings to the offsite disposal facility.”
“3. CDPHE, COGCC, and CTEH have been performing inspections and monitoring the activities at the site via formal inspections and site visits. To date, Extraction is in compliance with the applicable regulations and requirements. To date, there have been no indications of air emissions that are not within ranges that are considered unacceptable. In addition, the air monitoring project with Ajax, CSU, and CDPHE continues to provide data that demonstrate Broomfield’s air quality is consistent with what would be expected in the region.”
“4. Broomfield has performed daily site visits as well as site inspections and Extraction has been in compliance with the Public/Private Improvement Permits, Stormwater program requirements, and with the provisions of the Operator Agreement.”
“5. The preferred method for observing what is onsite and what operations are transpiring is through onsite visits. Broomfield Oil and Gas Division staff are well versed on what is transpiring at the site. We continue to monitor site operations, compliance with the Operator Agreement, including hazardous materials management. Additionally, Extraction and Broomfield management meet weekly to discuss operations. This is a cross-functional group that includes Engineering, Open Space and Trails, Oil and Gas Division, Stormwater Management, Public Works, etc. In addition, I am not aware of any legal authority for Broomfield to place cameras on these well pads.”