The Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s natural gas gathering company responded to a burst pipeline Thursday over a tributary of the Pine River, south of Ignacio.
Red Cedar Gathering Co. was notified of a possible leak from one of its natural gas pipelines late Thursday, said Lindsay Box, a tribe spokeswoman. The tribal division, which collects gas from wellheads in the field, assembled a team and immediately responded, Box said.
The pipeline crosses over Spring Creek, a tributary of the Pine River, just east of Colorado Highway 172. It appears the burst happened a few yards upstream of the confluence of these two waterways. Spring Creek reportedly was running with water at the time.
The pipeline, which was used for transporting natural gas, was isolated and depressurized, Box said. The tribe is looking into the leak, but it appears no hydrocarbons – a highly combustible compound that forms the basis of natural gas – was released into Spring Creek, she said.
“Although a formal investigation is ongoing, it does not appear there are any environmental impacts,” she said. “Nevertheless, out of an abundance of caution, the incident has been reported to the National Response Center.”
Because the leak occurred on Southern Ute land, the state of Colorado’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has no oversight, said Megan Castle, a spokeswoman for the agency.
Instead, federally recognized tribes can report any oil or chemical discharge to the National Response Center, an arm of the Environmental Protection Agency.
Box said the tribe will continue to monitor the situation.
“Red Cedar Gathering Co. and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe will complete a thorough investigation and environmental impacts, if any, will be immediately addressed,” she said.