A spill that occurred earlier this month near Woods Landing was actually water used in oil and gas production, not municipal wastewater, or reclaimed water, according to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality.
The spill occurred after a semitrailer carrying the water crashed on the afternoon of May 1 about three miles south of Woods Landing on Wyoming Highway 230.
Its cargo was production water, a byproduct of extracting oil or gas from the earth. Keith Guille, public information supervisor with the DEQ, told the Boomerang Wednesday companies typically must either properly store the production water in a disposal facility or treat it before dumping it into any waterways, the latter of which involves strict testing and permit requirements from the DEQ.
“There may be some chemicals (in it), but the majority is water,” Guille said. “That’s why we don’t allow it to be just discharged, we’d have to have it tested first. So, it’s hard to know what was all exactly in (the spill).”
Running along the highway is Woods Creek, which eventually flows into the Laramie River. Wyoming Highway Patrol Sergeant Jeremy Beck told the Boomerang earlier this month around 120 barrels of what was thought to be wastewater spilled when the truck crashed.
“It is unknown how much actually reached the river,” Guille said. “We didn’t see any staining on the ground or on the banks there — by the time we were there, it was gone.”
Despite the unknown amount of spillage in the water, Guille said the environmental impact in the area is “minimal.”
“I’m not minimizing the concerns, but in the bigger scope here the impacts were minimal,” Guille said. “If this would’ve been something else that reached that river, it could be a different situation.”
He added while these kinds of spills don’t happen very often, it is “unfortunate” and he’s glad “the impacts weren’t worse.”
“It could’ve been different,” Guille said.
The preliminary information provided by the WHP earlier this month identified the commercial truck involved in the crash as belonging to 247 Quality Service Trucking, LLC, registered in Rifle, Colorado, near Grand Junction.
Diesel fuel also spilled when the semitrailer crashed, but Beck said it was concentrated on the side of the highway opposite the creek.
Guille said the DEQ requires all spills to be reported to their office within 24 hours of their occurrence.