Nate Miller – Greeley Tribune
September 8, 2017
Firefighters clear the field at District 6 Stadium as they investigate a suspected gas leak. The game was cut short as a result of the investigation.
Officials from SRC Energy were on site of an oil and gas well in west Greeley on Friday after an equipment failure on a gas compressor and resulting gas leak forced the evacuation of District 6 Stadium during a football game Thursday night.
Just after 8:15 p.m., Greeley Fire Department firefighters were called to the site, southeast of5011 F St. in Greeley. Greeley Fire Chief Dale Lyman said residents in the area and some in attendance at the game heard a loud noise and called 911. He said there were several calls about it.
First arriving crews heard the loud sounds associated with a high pressure gas leak. As they investigated, they discovered the leaking high-pressure line, according to a news release from the Greeley Fire Department.
As a precaution, the stadium was evacuated during a game between the Greeley West Spartans and Longmont Trojans. Lyman said District 6 stadium officials did an excellent job of quickly evacuating the stadium, once the firefighters made the request.
Lyman said crews also asked Weld County dispatchers to issue an emergency notification call to residents within a half-mile radius of the well. However, while dispatchers were working to initiate the call, the gas leak was shut off, and the call was canceled.
Officials with SRC Energy came to the scene and assisted firefighters in shutting down the leaking gas line. The well was shut in and the leak was stopped at 8:52 p.m.
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Craig Rasmuson of SRC Energy said a valve on a compressor, which compresses natural gas into the infrastructure, failed, resulting in the loud whistle and gas leak. He said the public was in no immediate danger, as the gas dissipated in the air.
Sensitivities to oil and gas operations near highly populated areas are high in the wake of an April home explosion in Firestone. In that case, a gas flowline buried in the ground leaked gas into the French drains of a nearby home, which exploded when two men inside worked to replace a water heater. The line was thought to be abandoned, but for some reason it was still attached to an operating well. In this case, the compressor was above ground and gas wasn’t trapped.
Rasmuson said the well will not be turned back on until it has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb to ensure their confidence in the equipment’s safe operations.
“In this case, we’re going to check every piece of everything before we turn that location back on,” Rasmuson said. “The piece failed and it will be addressed and taken care of.”
Rasmuson said the valve, which was a quarter-inch in diameter failed, and frankly, that happens regularly in the field. That’s why the company employs people on the ground to inspect wells daily. The city of Greeley, as well, has its own inspection program, run through the fire department, with all of the city’s wells facing regular inspections.
Rasmuson said the area has been thoroughly checked for the presence of gas — which has no odor and can only be detected with special equipment — and there was none Fridaymorning.
“We had gas monitors out there, last night and this morning, we walked the whole area, all the way down to Sheep Draw, to 4th Street, to the school and homes, and we had no indications of any gas,” he said Friday.
All told, the Greeley Fire Department responded to the leak with five firetrucks and 19 firefighters. There were no injuries to residents or firefighters.
The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, which regulates the oil and gas industry, was notified about the leak. Officials there did not respond to requests for comment.
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