A BP pipeline running along #SaulsCreek in #Bayfield was discovered ruptured last week, spilling coal-bed methane produced water into the creek and forcing the emergency construction of an earthen dam to prevent contamination downstream.
According to state reports, a 6-inch fiberglass gathering line was found leaking around 7 a.m. Dec. 13, about four miles west of Bayfield on National Forest Service land off County Road 527, also known as Forest Service Road 608.
The produced water – a byproduct of oil and gas extraction – traveled across a sagebrush/grass meadow and into Sauls Creek, an intermittent stream that flows into #BeaverCreek, which meets the #LosPinosRiver a few miles south of Bayfield.
BP reported the creek was dry on Dec. 13, but the next day a state oil and gas inspector found Sauls Creek “contained runoff from snow melt.” An early estimate shows the produced water traveled 2,300 feet along the channel bottom.
However, BP on Monday could not say how long the spill had been occurring, how much was released and what the contents of the product were.
The cause of the spill, too, remains unknown.
A #Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission representative wrote in an emailed response that more information will be included in supplemental reports and through ongoing water sampling.
After discovering the spill, BP crews immediately closed the line, shut down 17 wells and constructed a temporary earthen dam to contain the produced water from spilling further downstream.
A Dec. 15 follow up report indicated hydro-evacuation trucks were removing the standing water in the creek bed, recovering a total of 150 barrels – about 6,300 gallons – of produced water mixed with snowmelt.
The pipeline repair required that County Road 527 be restricted to one lane of traffic for four days last week as BP crews partially excavated the road, according to U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Ann Bond. ✋🏾More in comments👇🏾