DCP Operating Company fined $3.25M for leaks that harmed Colorado air quality



A Weld County natural gas operator will pay a $3.25 million fine and spend more than $1.5 million to upgrade one of its plants to reduce harmful air emissions in an agreement with the state, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday.

DCP Operating Company LP and five other subsidiaries of DCP Midstream LP were accused of thousands of failures to monitor and repair leaking equipment at eight natural gas processing plants, including six in Front Range counties that already are in trouble with the EPA for hazardous air quality that makes people sick and worsens climate change, according to a consent decree filed Monday in U.S. District Court of Colorado.

DCP will improve leak detection and make repairs at the six plants along the Front Range and make repairs at two additional plants, according to the consent decree.

Federal and state officials said the agreement is significant because it will force the company to better maintain its plants and pipelines that send excessive amounts of volatile organic compounds and other pollutants that worsen the region’s already poor air quality and contribute to climate change.

The fine will be split between the federal and state governments.

Under the settlement, DCP, which is based in Denver, has agreed to strengthen its leak detection and repair practices at its Greeley, Kersey/Mewbourne, Platteville, Roggen, Spindle, O’Connor and Lucerne natural gas processing plants, as well as the to-be-constructed Bighorn natural gas processing plant.

The company agreed to install equipment that leaks less pollution, repair leaking equipment faster and improve staff training for leak detection and repair, according to a news release from the Justice Department. It also will use optical gas imaging technology to improve its leak detection and to make repairs more quickly.



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