Sand Creek: Metro Wastewater is concerned that Suncor’s groundwater contamination could affect timeline for secondary treatment structure


From The Denver Post (Bruce Finley):

The Metro Wastewater project is designed to remove ammonia and nitrates from Denver’s treated wastewater before it is discharged back into the South Platte River — part of $1.2 billion in improvements at the plant. CDPHE’s water-quality division has required the improvements to meet standards set by the federal government by 2015. Metro Wastewater must construct a large aeration basin structure where secondary treatment can be done. Metro excavation crews have dug out more than 130,000 cubic yards of dirt, pumping groundwater from the emerging hole. Construction crews have begun to build up the new structure.

The toxic plume appears to have approached the excavated area but has not entered it, Metro Wastewater spokesman Steve Frank said. “What we want from Suncor is to continue working on solving this problem,” Frank said. “We intend to do everything we can to remain in compliance with our discharge permit. Compliance is the norm for us.”

Suncor officials on Thursday said they will comply. “We’re meeting with Metro and are working with Metro to understand their construction plans and make sure we do everything we can to allow them to effectively do their work and meet their timelines,” Suncor vice president John Gallagher said. “This is really a potential problem rather than a problem.”[…]

The CDPHE notice to Suncor orders:

• A detailed map of the plume showing where benzene and other contamination exceeds state standards under the Metro Wastewater property.
• Monitoring of the groundwater outside the current extrapolated boundaries where the plume is believed to be — in areas where there’s no current contamination.
• New test wells and a groundwater monitoring plan within 30 days.
• A cleanup work plan, within 60 days, specifying how Suncor will reduce the contamination that has spread from its oil refinery under neighboring property.

More oil and gas coverage here and here.

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