Mysterious smoke hovers near Rifle |

Mysterious smoke hovers near Rifle

AMANDA HOLT MILLERgarfield county correspondent

RIFLE – A mysterious plume of black smoke hovered west of Rifle about 7 a.m. Monday. And later in the day, the town was rocked by a planned blast.The plume of black smoke happened because Williams Production RMT flared one of its wells near Rulison. A slug of condensate, a collection of heavier gases such as propane and butane, was caught in the flare, creating the dark smoke, said Williams’ district manager, Steve Soychak. “I think it dissipated pretty quickly,” Soychak said. “There were no safety issues or anything.”Normally, gas well flares burn only methane, Soychak said. “It looks like your pilot light at home, and you don’t see much smoke,” he said.But condensate does occasionally get caught in the flares, Soychak said, adding that Monday’s situation was never out of control. Rifle Police chief Daryl Meisner said police fielded about a dozen calls from concerned residents who felt the earth rumble. The blast was palpable and audible in downtown Rifle about 1:30 p.m., sounding much like thunder. Brian Diaz, assistant director at Garfield County Dispatch, confirmed that the source of the rumble was a scheduled blast in west Rifle.”We were notified that they would be blasting in that area,” Diaz said.Soychak said he had not received any complaints of Williams’ scheduled blasting shaking the ground in Rifle, but confirmed Williams crews were blasting about three miles west of west Rifle in order to prepare a drilling site.

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