A large black smoke plume was reported around 4 p.m. on Friday, January 14 at the Northwest A Oil and Gas Pad, near Zuni St. and 160th Ave.
North Metro Fire and Broomfield Police were dispatched to the site, upon arrival, fire crews found no smoke visible from Northwest A Pad. North Metro Fire was in contact with the operator to confirm the status of the operations at the pad, visibly inspected both Northwest Pad sites, and confirmed there was no smoke, fire or odors.
The operator was also in contact with Broomfield's oil and gas inspectors immediately after the equipment malfunction.
While the plume was initially very noticeable and everyone remained on high alert from the Marshall Fire, the smoke was a result of a separator malfunction. The safety protocol/process worked as intended with the excess liquid product directed into the safety chamber to be successfully combusted. Upon combustion, a flash flame was visible for a short period of time leading some residents to assume there was a fire.
Broomfield has 7 day/week inspections coverage in order to monitor operations on the pad sites. They too confirmed the safety procedure worked as designed when the separator malfunction occurred. The unit that malfunctioned was immediately shut down and repaired. Subsequent testing of the unit confirmed it is now operating as intended.
Broomfield staff continues to debrief and discuss, in detail with the operator, the cause of the malfunction and their plan to reduce the risk of recurrence.