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Fracking fluid spill backs up Greeley traffic for hours

Tyler Silvy | Greeley Tribune

Traffic was backed up for hours Friday afternoon on U.S. 34 Bypass after a truck spilled fracking fluid near 65th Avenue.

“They slammed on their brakes as they were coming up, and the barrel came free of their trailer and started leaking,” Greeley firefighter Doug Gilliland said.

Fluid spilled from about a quarter mile east of 65th Avenue all the way into the intersection of U.S. 34 Bypass and 65th Avenue. It was not immediately known how much of the fluid spilled.

The half-empty container was dented, but had been placed onto the flatbed trailer by 5 p.m. Two men leaning against a truck marked with Clear Water Products’ logo declined comment.

“We’re unaware of what it is because of the fact that we haven’t gotten an (Material Safety Data Sheet) on it,” Gilliland said. “Something to do with fracking. Other than that, we don’t know.”

Clear Water Products provides a variety of services to the oil and gas industry, including flocculation, a process by which the company converts large amounts of waste drilling fluids to a small volume of solids using chemicals such as calcium nitrate, polymer and ferric chloride, according to the company’s website.

Related: Weld residents voice concerns at state oil, gas hearing in Greeley

The Greeley Fire Department, Greeley Police Department, Colorado State Patrol and Colorado Department of Transportation responded to the spill. No injuries were reported.

A hazmat crew from the Greeley Fire Department was dispatched at 3 p.m., but Greeley firefighter Brett Cary said the crew wouldn’t clean up the spill.

Instead, the company that spilled the fluid hired a contractor to do it.

“We oversee it, but they’re required to do it by law,” Cary said. “They’re responsible for it, so the city’s not paying for any of it.”

Traffic was backed up for miles as the hazmat crew awaited word on what the exact chemicals were. Cary said the fire department likely wouldn’t release that information until today.

Cary didn’t seem concerned about the spill, saying he understands it to be a fairly benign cleaning product.

“Had it been raining, we’d be great, because it would probably already be gone,” Cary said. “But as long as we can see it’s here, whatever it is, they’re obligated to clean it all up.”

Reach Tyler Silvy at tsilvy@greeleytri bune.com. Connect with him at Facebook.com/TylerSilvy or @TylerSilvy on Twitter. ___

5 comments

  1. It’d be good to be dead sure what chemicals were in the spilled fluid. As Clear Water Products appears to process flowback fluid for the fracking industry it could have contained all sorts of toxic waste: benzene, biocides, heavy metals and radioactivity to name but four.

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