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Odor Report Yields No Answers

November 20, 2018

Reports of a sulfur-like smell near Thunder Vista P-8 in Anthem Highlands prompted a multi-agency investigation that city officials say found no measurable combustible gases or hydrogen sulfide.

Broomfield’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Tami Yellico said 25 complaints were filed throughout Tuesday morning starting about 8:30 a.m.

Yellico — along with Broomfield’s oil and gas inspector and members of North Metro Fire Rescue District — happened to all be in the same room at the time of the first calls, which came via the city’s oil and gas hotline and not 911.

“That’s when the fire department and inspector went out on site,” she said.

North Metro Fire’s Deputy Chief of Operations Jeff Bybee said they were on site, on Prebble Creek Parkway near the school, at 9:21 a.m. and then at 16468 Prospect Ridge at 11:13 a.m.

North Metro Fire dispatched an engine company that used a four-gas combustible meter to determine if combustible gases or hydrogen sulfide were present at the location.

They detected no hydrogen sulfide or combustible gases at either site. They also did not identify any odors at the locations.

An air quality monitoring station near the area is not one of the four stations currently active, Yellico said. Ajax Analytics and Colorado State University hope to have all 18 stations up and running by the end of November.

Anthem resident Candice Spicer, who lives at the northwest corner of Anthem, said she didn’t detect a smell near her home, but as she was taking her daughter to school, she noticed a “significant smell,” almost like rotten eggs or matches.

She said she continued to detect a strong smell between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m. while dropping her child at Thunder Vista.

Spicer called the city, where an employee suggested she file an official complaint through Broomfield’s recently-launched oil and gas reporting system. She also emailed city council members.

Early Tuesday afternoon, she received an email from the city and a response from Councilwoman Elizabeth Law-Evans, which Spicer felt was “nonchalant,” suggesting that she first should identify the factual nature of the odor before jumping to conclusions as to the cause.

Laura Davis, Broomfield’s assistant public health director, said city officials discussed the issue with Dr. Dan Bon of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. He said that from 6 to 10 a.m. Tuesday, there were hydrogen sulfide levels that were slightly above baseline, but that it was considered unremarkable and would not have raised a concern.

The readings come from the department’s Colorado Air Monitoring Mobile Lab (CAMML) which has been in the Broomfield area since October.

Broomfield’s inspector was sent out at the same time as fire officials. In a letter to citizens, Broomfield reported that he interviewed school personnel and contractors working home construction in the area. No odors were identified.

The Broomfield Emergency Manager contacted school officials in the Adams 12 School District, as well as school personnel present at the facility, the letter states. School officials were not aware of any reports of odors or other issues.

Investigators also contacted the Public Works Department to determine if there were any potential issues associated with sewer lines or wastewater that could have produced the reported odor.

Nothing was identified at the time, but one resident who filed a complaint allowed public works to test her water. Yellico said they took a water sample Tuesday and are expected to have results this week.

Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. also was contacted. The company has no chemical-related operations nearby. Crews were clearing some areas in preparation for digging and right-of-way fencing was being installed.

There are no piping materials currently on-site.

Broomfield staff also contacted the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Oil and Gas Information and Response Department to notify them of the situation.

At this time, Broomfield staff said they continue to monitor the situation. Yellico said anytime someone feels there is an emergency, to call 911.

Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, riosj@broomfieldenterprise.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios

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