Unrelenting flood waters drenching the Front Range of the Rockies north of Denver have put thousands of oil and gas wells, storage tanks and holding ponds under water.
Encana Oil and Gas, Anadarko Petroleum Corp. and other operators have been shutting in wells to minimize flood risks.
But operators haven’t reached many of their wells.
Texas-based Anadarko has shut in about 300 wells in the Wattenberg field, the company said.
At least one pipeline apparently moving crude was damaged and leaking in Weld County, east of Fort Collins.
Operators are trying to secure tanks with chains. But the Boulder News said aerial photographs show tanks floating and drifting in some flooded areas.
The Wattenberg field oil and natural gas field north of Denver stretches from southern Weld County to parts of Boulder, Adams, Larimer and Broomfield counties.
Flash flooding in those counties has cut off houses and entire communities.
Oil drums, tanks and other industrial debris have been seen in the swollen South Platte River.
Authorities haven’t said who operates the damaged pipeline or flooded wells.
Nearly 500 people are unaccounted for in the flooding.
As many as six are thought to have died.
Up to 1,000 people are waiting to be evacuated, CNN said early Monday.
The Colorado Office of Emergency Management said the historic floods have destroyed 1,502 residential structures and damaged 17,494.
Over 11,000 people were ordered to evacuate.
Fifteen counties have been hit.
Up to 15 inches of rain has fallen since last week.