The nine-member Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission has unanimously approved new spill reporting regulations that significantly tighten the volume thresholds and time frame for operators to report spills of oil as well as exploration and production waste.
Under the new rules, any spill of five barrels or more must be reported within 24 hours. In addition, any spill of one barrel or more that occurs outside secondary containment, such as metal or earthen berms, must also be reported within 24 hours. The previous threshold for such reporting in both instances was 20 barrels, and spills between five and 20 barrels could be reported within 10 days.
The rules continue to require reporting within 24 hours of any spill that impacts or threatens to impact waters of the state, any occupied structure, livestock, a public byway or surface water supply area.
The rules approved Tuesday build upon House Bill 13-1278, which was approved by lawmakers earlier this year and took effect August 7.
"These regulations will improve the public's confidence in our ability to protect public health, safety and our environment," said COGCC director Matt Lepore.