VRP reports Falcon, LaBarge sites’ status

SUBLETTE COUNTY – Two Sublette sites undergoing voluntary industry cleanup efforts are at different stages – one with a proposed agreement and the other just getting underway – in the state’s remediation process. And the public is being invited to participate in both.

Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Voluntary Remediation Program (VRP) announced their status recently with notices in the Sublette Examiner from the DEQ’s Solid and Hazardous Waste Division (SHWD).

The VRP reviews voluntary applications to coordinate monitoring and cleanup for contaminated or hazardous spill locations across Wyoming to reduce pollutants to DEQ’s acceptable levels. The two local sites are the Falcon Compressor Station and the LaBarge Emergency Pits, according to DEQ VRP.

  • Although the Falcon project is technically at a late “objection” stage, based on feedback from interested parties, the DEQ plans a public information meeting to update interested parties on the Falcon site before a hearing, explained DEQ spokesman Keith Guille.
  • That meeting is set for Tuesday, Aug. 15, at 6 p.m. in the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room. Representatives from Enterprise, DEQ VRP and Air Quality Division and consultant Pastor, Behling and Wheeler will attend, Guille said.

The public can also request a participation plan for the LaBarge Emergency Pits site, recently accepted into the VRP.


Falcon Compressor Station

SHWD’s Ben Luckey, VRP project manager for the Falcon site, posted its history and proposed remedy agreement reached with the state, DEQ and owner/operator Enterprise Jonah Gas Gathering Co.

The Falcon Compressor Station also was the scene of a fire and natural-gas pipeline explosion in late December 2011 but VRP cleanup had begun several years earlier, according to Guille, who provided a concise timeline to the present.

  • In February 2008, “Hydrocarbon odors (and staining) were detected in a pipeline trench 400 feet downgradient of (the Falcon) facility; based on its proximity, Enterprise initiates site investigation work through 2010,” Guille related.
  • “Review of operating records attempted to identify the release, but no reportable releases have occurred since the compressor station began operating,” the proposed remedy states. “The release mechanism is suspected to be associated with historic overfill and minor spills around the condensate storage tanks. Site investigations have determined there are petroleum hydrocarbon impacts to soil and groundwater, including light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL).”

Site and groundwater assessment activities such as “20 soil borings, 12 of which were completed as permanent groundwater monitoring wells” suggest impacted soil around former condensate tanks was the source of contamination.

Further assessments brought in more monitoring wells to “determine that benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylene (BTEX) and total petroleum hydrocarbon gasoline range organics (TPH-GRO) were impacting groundwater. Measurable LNAPL has historically been detected in three wells near the former condensate tanks.”

In January 2011, Enterprise entered the Falcon station into VRP for soil and groundwater contamination – 11 months before the fire and explosions rocked the facility and led to even more contamination targeted for removal outside of the VRP, Guille added.

“During the emergency response activities, ethylene glycol and lube oil supply lines were cut and residual products were discharged to soil on the north side of the compressor slab,” the agreement says.

Enterprise completed that cleanup independently while the facility was closed, removing newly spilled chemicals from under and around its concrete slab. The Falcon facility was rebuilt in 2014 and reopened in 2015.

The VRP plan outlines LNAPL monitoring, reduction and removal through accelerated weathering, oxidation by “ozone sparge” and other processes until DEQ levels are met in 10 years, it says.

“Ozone sparging” refers to injecting or delivering concentrated ozone into contaminated ground or water to oxidize pollutants as ozone rises, according to several sources

DEQ and Enterprise seek written public comments on the proposed remedy, according to Luckey, who will provide copies upon request.

For more information, contact DEQ’s Luckey at 307-777-6168 or Enterprise’s Greg Miller at 713-381-8780.


LaBarge Emergency Pits

DEQ’s Stefan Tonsberg also announced that Hilcorp Energy Company’s application to enroll the LaBarge Emergency Pits site was recently accepted by the VRP and is issuing public notices in the Sublette Examiner.

If it generates “significant” public interest, DEQ would require Hilcorp to create a participation plan to accommodate public involvement.

Three miles west of LaBarge and barely in Sublette County, the site has a long history as a petroleum production facility, with a central tank battery located upslope from “three former emergency pits used for the containment of excess water production,” Tonsberg related.

“According to the VRP application, the emergency pits were closed between 1992 and 1993, during which closure processes identified groundwater impacts,” he said in an email. “As a result of these impacts, various groundwater/soil investigations, monitoring and interim remediation (including free product recovery) activities have been implemented to date.”

The site was owned and operated by Texaco, which merged with Chevron around 2001, he explained. Hilcorp purchased Chevron assets including the facility in December 2016.

Monitoring results indicated “continued presence of dissolved phase hydrocarbons in groundwater and light non-aqueous phase liquid (LNAPL) at the site” but not the source or extent of contamination.

“Therefore, further site assessment is necessary to fully evaluate current conditions and proceed to remedy,” he said.

Chevron’s environmental consultants undertook investigations and interim remediation such as free product recovery and groundwater monitoring, Tonsberg said, under DEQ Water Quality Division’s oversight.

Chevron applied to enter the LaBarge Emergency Pits into the VRP program in October 2016 and the DEQ accepted it in November.

“A notification letter, dated Dec. 30, 2016, was submitted to DEQ outlining a transfer of ownership, operations, and (VRP) status and responsibilities for the site from Chevron USA, Inc. to and accepted by (Hilcorp). The DEQ acknowledged and accepted the transfer of ownership, operations and (VRP) designation from Chevron USA, Inc. to Hilcorp via a letter dated Dec. 30, 2016.”

Interested parties can request a public participation plan for this VRP process by writing to Luke J. Hensch, Administrator, Solid and Hazardous Waste Division, DEQ, 200 W. 17th St., Second floor, Cheyenne, WY 82002.

For more information, go to http://deq.wyoming.gov/shwd/voluntary-remediation-program/.

Video News
More In Homepage