Welding natural gas operator fined $3.25m for leaks affecting air quality – Greeley Tribune

A Weld County natural gas operator will pay a $3.25 million fine and spend more than $1.5 million to upgrade one of its facilities to reduce harmful air emissions in an agreement with the state, the state said US Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency announced on Monday.

DCP Operating Company LP and five other DCP Midstream LP subsidiaries have been accused of thousands of failures to monitor and repair leaking equipment at eight natural gas processing plants, including six in Front Range counties already in trouble with the EPA over dangerous air quality that is making people sick and worsening climate change, according to a consent order filed Monday in the U.S. District Court of Colorado.

DCP will improve leak detection and conduct repairs at the six plants along the Front Range and repairs at two other plants under the Consent Decree.

Federal and state officials said the agreement is significant because it will force the company to better maintain its facilities and pipelines, which emit excessive levels of volatile organic compounds and other pollutants that worsen the region’s already poor air quality and contribute to climate change contribute.

The fine is split between the federal and state governments.

As part of the settlement, Denver-based DCP has agreed to extend its leak detection and repair practices at its natural gas processing facilities in Greeley, Kersey/Mewbourne, Platteville, Rye, Spindle, O’Connor and Lucerne and at the upcoming Bighorn natural gas processing facility.

According to a Justice Department press release, the company agreed to install equipment that leaks less pollution, repair leaking equipment more quickly, and improve employee training for leak detection and repair. It will also use optical gas imaging technology to improve leak detection and make repairs faster.

DCP will install a special system on two turbines at the Kersey/Mewbourne natural gas processing plant in Platteville, designed to mitigate damage caused by its past emissions. The project will cost an estimated $1.15 million and will reduce volatile organic compound emissions by 26 tons per year and methane emissions by 375 tons per year, the press release said.

Volatile organic compounds create ground-level ozone, also known as smog, which pollutes people’s respiratory systems. Methane is a greenhouse gas that affects the Earth’s temperature and contributes to global warming.

A company spokeswoman said Monday DCP is already making improvements with a goal of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by more than a third by 2030 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

The Company believes that establishing comprehensive and improved leak monitoring and repair at all of its gas processing facilities in Colorado is consistent with its goals to reduce emissions, according to an emailed statement from Jeanette Alberg, Public Affairs Managers of DCP.

“Implementation of this enhanced program will also provide DCP and federal and state regulators with more information on advanced leak detection and repair techniques and further reduce ozone precursors and other emissions in the Northern Front Range,” the statement said.

https://www.greeleytribune.com/2022/07/26/dcp-midstream-colorado-natural-gas-leaks-fine-settlement/ Welding natural gas operator fined $3.25m for leaks affecting air quality – Greeley Tribune

James Brien

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