An energy site north of Fort Collins has been ordered to shut down over health and safety concerns, according to state officials.
Prospect Energy has been ordered to “immediately cease operations” at its Krause site “because of repeated violations that endanger public welfare,” the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said in a Thursday news release.
“This is an exceptional and rare course of action, and we do not take it lightly,” said Michael Ogletree, director of the Air Pollution Control Division, in the release. “This is a unique situation that calls for extraordinary measures to ensure we are protecting public welfare.”
Prospect Energy’s Krause site is close to at least one home and two other businesses, the CDPHE said. Since 2021, several inspections have been conducted at the site after odor complaints from nearby residents. Several violations have been found, including emissions of volatile organic compounds from storage tanks.
During an inspection in June, a monitor sounded an alarm for hydrogen sulfide indicating potentially dangerous levels of the gas. Investigators found that some of the illegal tank emissions at the Krause site happened because Prospect Energy failed to properly maintain its vapor lines, the release said.
“Hydrogen sulfide is a common colorless gas that naturally occurs in oil and gas. It smells like rotten eggs,” the CDPHE said. “Short-term exposure to high levels of hydrogen sulfide can cause eye irritation, breathing difficulties, dizziness, and headaches.”
“The Krause site is not properly designed, operated, or maintained,” the release said. “The division inspected the Krause site again on August 11 and found that illegal emissions have continued.”
The division will continue to monitor the site to ensure it’s in compliance with the cease and desist order. If Prospect Energy identifies and addresses all concerns, it may resume operations at the site.