NewsCovering Colorado


Food crops damaged from an oil spill in an irrigation ditch near Pueblo

Oil spill in an irrigation ditch near Pueblo
Oil spill in an irrigation ditch near Pueblo
Posted at 5:57 PM, Jun 30, 2024

PUEBLO COUNTY — An oil spill in Pueblo County off Highway 50 has damaged a corn and alfalfa field. Vince Hanson has been a property owner in Pueblo County for nearly nine years. Hanson reached out to News5 after he saw extensive flooding and oil filling up the drainage ditch outside his house.

"I have never seen oil like that. I have seen some contaminants come down, but nothing like that,” Hanson said.

On Friday Hanson noticed an oil spill in the irrigation drainage that flows near his house.

“The oil almost crossed my driveway last night. It was close,” Hanson said.

Hanson said reached out to multiple state agencies for help.

“The fire department came out and just said we'll take care of business and do as much as we can,” Hanson said.

Hanson said the Fire department did a great job but it took hours to clean up most of the oil.

“The fire department piled up all those rags,” Hanson said.

He said the fire department used white sponges to soak up the oil.

“That's the watermark from the stain that it left. So it’s gone down about two inches,” Hanson said.

On Sunday most of the oil was gone, but you could still see remnants of it in the plants and along the ditch.

“It's just up in the branches. It's everywhere still I mean, it was gross. They got a lot of it out. It was like pulling up behind here. It was a trip. They got a lot of it, but boy, there's still a lot left," Hanson said.

Hanson showed us the drainage ditch and where the oil had been piling up.

“You can see it right there, on top, it is like a blue sheen, it's disgusting,” Hanson said.

What looked like a moat or a small river separated Highway 50 from Hanson’s front year. Hanson said the drainage ditch is supposed to be three feet deep. But the flooding has filled the ditch and caused water to spill over into his neighbors' fields.

“As you can see it flooded back through and blew out all his grading and it's back flowing and right now it is going right back into the field. This ditch is actually back flowing into his drainage,” Hanson said.

He showed us how the overflow of the water coming from the irrigation ditch has seeped its way into the cornfield, damaging the crop.

“These guys are experiencing crop loss. This has a financial impact on a community. These are sold. This food is grown and sold. That's how he makes his living and if he loses 10 acres of a field due to contamination, that's serious,” Hanson said.

He said over the past four years flooding has caused a large financial strain to many farmers in the area.

“The flooding has caused me about $25,000 in damages just last year alone,” Hanson said.

He said the drainage system was installed along Highway 50 a few years ago. He says it's causing flooding on his property, but he is unsure where the oil came from.

“I’m trying to find out what caused the accident. if it was a vehicle to crash in the ditch. I’ve heard three things, one a semi crashed into the ditch and lost its oil pan and one a vehicle did and another that somebody dumped oil into it,” Hanson said.

Hanson said all of his neighbors are environmentally cautious and he does not believe someone would pour oil into a drainage ditch.

Hanson told News5 he plans on reaching out to county commissioners to see what can be done about the flooding and the oil spill.

What's in store for Monsoon Season in southern Colorado

If you've lived in Colorado for a few years, you're familiar with the North American Monsoon. If you're not, buckle up...because it's on the way.

The summer monsoon is coming, here's this year's forecast

News Tips
What should KOAA5 cover? Is there a story, topic, or issue we should revisit? Have a story you believe should make the light of day? Let our newsroom know with the contact form below.


Watch KOAA News5 on your time, anytime with our free streaming app available for your Roku, FireTV, AppleTV and Android TV. Just search KOAA News5, download and start watching.