Release Date: 09/03/09
Contacts: Erin Curtis, 970-244-3097
Gunnison, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management is monitoring efforts to clean up Cochetopa Creek after a privately owned truck overturned along Highway 114 in Cochetopa Canyon and spilled close to 4,000 gallons of citric acid onto the stream bank. Citric acid solution is used to clean natural gas well casing during well development.
The accident occurred Sunday afternoon, August 30.
BLM and Division of Wildlife Officials are investigating the impacts from the incident, which has caused some fish mortality in the creek. The spill created an acidic condition in the creek, and officials are looking for the best option to clean the spill up and restore proper pH balance in the creek and surrounding land.
“This is a serious incident,” said Brian St. George, manager of the BLM Gunnison Field Office. “Our first priority here is public safety. We have posted signs at the campground nearby and are encouraging the public not to drink the water or enter the creek at this time.”
St. George said the BLM and DOW officials are working with the Colorado Department of Transportation and a private environmental engineering firm to determine the best way to clean up the spill, with the least impact on the environment in and around the creek.
The BLM manages more land – 256 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.
216 N. Colorado Gunnison CO 81230