BLOOMFIELD – The Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department’s Oil and Conservation Division has issued a notice of violation to the Bloomfield office of the oil and gas company Harvest Midstream for failure to report a major release.
Harvest Midstream gathers, processes, treats and transports oil and natural gas, according to its website.
Susan Torres, a spokeswoman for the department, said the release involved natural gas that had “associated hydrocarbon fluids” in the ephemeral wash.
Less than an estimated 5 barrels (bbls) of liquid – or more than 200 gallons – spilled into the watercourse.
The Oil and Conservation Division considers spills of any volume that affect a watercourse to be “especially serious.” For that reason, the agency requires notification within 24 hours of any spill so it can ensure the release is quickly contained and the issue resolved.
The release happened Aug. 13. Harvest Midstream did not report the spill until Sept. 29, 44 days later.
“Failing to self-report a major release is a serious violation of OCD’s rules,” said OCD Director Adrienne Sandoval. “Without proper notification, the OCD cannot ensure that the release is promptly mitigated and remediated in order to protect human health and the environment as required by state law.”
Harvest Midstream did not respond to requests for comment.
The notice of violation has a court date listed for March 3. OCD proposed a civil penalty of $187,400 for Harvest’s alleged violation of the spill rule requirements. Harvest Midstream has until the court date to come to a resolution. If Harvest Midstream and the OCD do not reach a settlement before that date, the violation will go before the courts in a hearing.