Oil Spill on the Cache La Poudre

Jun 30, 2014

On June 20th, a storage tank attached to an oil well damaged by recent flooding spilled 7,500 gallons of crude oil into the Cache La Poudre River near Windsor. Spring flood waters undercutting a bank caused the tank to drop downward and damage a valve, dumping oil into the river and impacting vegetation a quarter-mile downstream. The Cache La Poudre river corridor is the only Colorado river that boasts a naturally self-sustaining wild trout population, and is listed as a National Heritage Area  that includes the 100-year flood plain of the river from its emergence from the mountains to its confluence with the South Platte River.

In 2013, flooding on the South Platte River caused extensive damage to homes, roads and oil and gas infrastructure. Setbacks and regulations for wells in the river's floodplain are lacking or non-existent. The result is that hundreds of active wells were in the path of raging waters, or sitting in standing flood water. These wells, along with toppled tanks and broken pipes posed serious contamination risks, spilling toxic and cancer-causing chemicals into flood waters, polluting livestock, crops and humans.