A flyfisherman hunting late-season carp on Colorado’s Sand Creek has discovered a plume of “black gunk” spilling into the water, and EPA clean-up officials are on-scene trying to stop the petroleum sludge from contaminating the South Platte River.

EPA Emergency Response Manager Curtis Kimbel, quoted in the Denver Post, said the “gasoline-like substance” contained the carcinogenic chemical benzene, and was migrating from SunCor Energy’s refinery, underground beneath land owned by the Metro Wastewater, and “daylighting” at Sand Creek.

Here’s a link to the fishermen’s full story, complete with his acount of how difficult it can be to get a response to a threat our waters.

From the post at flycarpin:
_This morning at 9:00AM it smelled like a gas station at the Sand-Creek / South Platte confluence. There was also an oily sheen across the entire Sand-Creek side of the South Platte current. Every carp in the area (something on the order of 60?) was tightly grouped (alive but not very active) in a 20 foot section as far from Sand-Creek as they could get. And yes, I am very aware that it always smells nasty in the area. This was definitely very different.

I walked several hundred feet up Sand-Creek and there was an oil sheen the whole way and there was even a weird milky chocolaty sludge trapped in the small back-eddy below the confluence. My fly smelled like gasoline. My fingers smelled like gasoline. I could see micro-currents and upwells in the water column that you usually just can’t see. Something was terribly wrong._