Gas cleanup in Old Snowmass could take years, CDOT says |

Gas cleanup in Old Snowmass could take years, CDOT says

Aspen Times Staff Report
Aspen, CO Colorado

OLD SNOWMASS ” Officials with the Colorado Department of Transportation suspect the cleanup of 1,600 gallons of spilled gasoline from the Old Snowmass Conoco could take years, a spokeswoman for the agency said Tuesday.

Nancy Shanks of CDOT said the cleanup of the spilled gas is difficult because the contaminated area is so close to the abutment of a Highway 82 bridge across Snowmass Creek. Soil cannot be removed because of the risk of interfering with the stability of the bridge.

Nearly 1,600 gallons of premium unleaded gas spilled Feb. 2 when a pipe feeding a gas pump was ruptured. The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office suspects an unknown driver bumped the pump and damaged the pipe connected to an underground storage tank. The incident occurred in the early morning hours when the station, located about 3 miles upvalley from Basalt, was unattended. No arrests have been made.

The gas flowed down the station’s parking lot, crossed Snowmass Creek Road near its intersection with Highway 82, swamped a bus stop area, then went into a storm drain.

Repeated tests indicate the gas didn’t contaminate Snowmass Creek or the nearby Roaring Fork River.

ECOS, a private firm hired by the gas station owner, and the state transportation department are working on the cleanup. Shanks said officials at the site told her Tuesday that groundwater is being pumped from the contaminated site into special “fracing” containers used in the drilling process in the natural gas fields of western Garfield County.

The timeline for removal of contaminated groundwater “could be years,” she said she was told.

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