FORT COLLINS — The state of Colorado has ordered an energy company to shut down its tank site north of Fort Collins.
The Department of Public Health and Environment’s Air Pollution Control Division on Thursday ordered Prospect Energy to immediately cease operations at its Krause site because of repeated violations that endanger public welfare, the agency said in a press statement. The shut down order came after the state exhausted other options to correct violations.
State law permits the agency to shut down a source of pollution if it creates an unhealthy or disruptive environment for nearby residences or businesses, the press statement said. “If Prospect Energy can demonstrate that it has identified and addressed all concerns, it may resume operations at the Krause site.”
“This is an exceptional and rare course of action, and we do not take it lightly,” Michael Ogletree, director of the Air Pollution Control Division, said in a written statement. “This is a unique situation that calls for extraordinary measures to ensure we are protecting public welfare.”
Prospect Energy’s Krause site is close to at least one home and two other businesses. Inspections of the site were prompted by odor complaints. Division inspectors found emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage tanks. Some of the illegal tank emissions at the Krause site happened because Prospect Energy failed to properly maintain its vapor lines, the agency said. Prospect Energy had informed the division that it intended to follow Vapor Control System guidelines. However, the division has found Prospect Energy had failed to do this because emissions violations continued.
A June visit found potentially dangerous levels of hydrogen sulfide. Hydrogen sulfide is a common colorless gas that naturally occurs in oil and gas. It smells like rotten eggs. Short-term exposure to high levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause eye irritation, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and headaches.
A final inspection Aug. 11 found that illegal emissions were continuing, the state said.