On January 3, 2013, maintenance personnel of a natural gas company found that a pressure gauge on the pipeline failed and hydrocarbon leakage occurred. The damaged manometer was replaced on the same day and the pipeline was restored to use. Based on naked-eye observations, the company did not report the leak to the EPA because it believed that the leak was only about 100 liters below the reporting threshold.
Two months later, on March 8, the company discovered large areas of benzene-contaminated land and unknown quantities of liquid hydrocarbons during pipeline renewal surveys. Subsequent in-depth investigations show that the leak actually began on December 20, 2012, and lasted until January 3, 2013.
After the discovery of widespread pollution, the company stopped using the pipeline, reported it to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the US Environmental Protection Agency, and carried out accident investigation. However, the main response measures focused on monitoring and cleaning up two areas.
It is reported that the general attitude of the surrounding residents is to be concerned rather than vigilant. Many people think this is a warning signal, requiring legislators to further strengthen the supervision of gas pipeline-related issues. When the accident was first discovered, water samples were monitored by the company itself. Some residents expressed distrust and asked the state government to take over the monitoring work.
Several ranchers said they were ready to file a claim with the company if they found groundwater contaminated in their pastoral areas. In addition, life is basically the same.According to state law, unlicensed discharge of waste is illegal, but natural gas condensate belongs to company products rather than waste. There is no reason for discharge and no evidence that serious negligence led to emissions. Companies are also very cooperative in cleaning, so there is no reason to impose fines – but if follow-up information changes, penalties will be reconsidered.