Processing Magazine

Toxic plume complicates wastewater treatment plant upgrade

May 15, 2012

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — Colorado state authorities have ordered Suncor Energy to do more to clean up a plume of toxic petrochemicals that is spreading from the company’s oil refinery and complicating a $211 million upgrade at the adjacent Denver Metro Wastewater Reclamation District plant.

The Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a new Notice of Additional Work to Suncor requiring the company to perform additional monitoring and implement preventive measures to ensure the construction project does not complicate ongoing efforts to remediate the plume of contaminated groundwater migrating off refinery property.

“We are concerned that dewatering operations related to Metro’s construction project may cause contamination to move in new directions that could interfere with the cleanup,” said Walter Avramenko, leader of the Hazardous Waste Corrective Action Unit at the department. “We also want to prevent construction workers from being exposed to contaminated water.”