Suncor agrees to $1.9-million Sand Creek spill settlement

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By The Staff

COMMERCE CITY — The legal battle over a 2011 toxic spill into Sand Creek and the South Platte River is close to resolution.

Suncor Energy last month agreed to settle a civil lawsuit stemming from the spill filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and Colorado officials.


As part of the settlement, Suncor agreed to pay $1.9 million on top of about two years of cleanup and remediation work after the February 2011 spill from a “dead leg” pipe under Suncor’s property that then seeped into groundwater.

The spill was initially noticed by a South Platte River fisherman who reported it to state officials, sparking a massive effort to divert the leak from the waterways and eventually cap the broken pipe.

Suncor had previously agreed in 2012 to pay $2.2 million in fines related to the release of benzene from the refinery in 2010.

The Colorado Department of Health and Environment in May 2012 issued an order for Suncor Energy to perform more monitoring and put in preventive measures so that a nearby Denver Metro Wastewater Reclamation District construction project at the time would not complicate ongoing efforts to clean up the contaminated groundwater leaving the refinery property.

That order prompted Suncor to create a groundwater remediation work plan for the secondary treatment area, as well as reduce refinery contamination in or moving toward the treatment area that is on wastewater property.


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