Sand Creek: Suncor hopes to contain plume of pollution permanently by fall

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From the Commerce City Sentinel (Ben Wiebesiek):

[John Gallagher, vice president of refining for Suncor Energy] said the company built a 1000-foot trenching system on Metro Waste Water’s property in the area. “One of the trenches is a blocking wall, essential blocks all liquid hydrocarbons underground. The second, in front of that, is a collector trench, which has a number of sumps in it to take liquid materials up,” Gallagher said.

“We have also built on the same property, between Sand Creek and that wall, what we call a soil vapor extraction system where we’re taking hydrocarbon vapors up out of the soil and burning them in a gasoline engine.” Gallagher said the trenching system on the waste water treatment facility property is now 100 percent complete. Gallagher anticipates the completion of the vapor extraction system April 30. “We have 90 percent of a 2,100-foot trenching system on Suncor’s property to protect our boundaries,” Gallagher said. “If you think about it very simplistically, our overall strategy is to move off of the river, which is done, move up to the trenching system and then back onto our own property over the next several months.”

Gallagher admitted there were still trace levels of benzene going into Sand Creek. “This is within the parts per billion range,” he said. “And we are working diligently to reduce that, get it back to drinking-water quality.”

The permanent protection system will be complete by last summer, early fall, Gallagher said. “We should be seeing some very dramatic results. Right now, we’re seeing some results, some improvement, but the permanent system needs to be in play before we see everything go our way,” Gallagher said.

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