Oil and gas industry to face tougher regulations on spills

Life Inside Colorado's Oil And Gas Boom

Now, companies must report any spill of five barrels or more within 24 hours.

A barrel equals 42 gallons.

Industry must also report a spill of as little as one barrel if it occurs outside of a containment area.

Todd Hartman, a spokesperson with the state Department of Natural Resources, says the industry used to have as many as 10 days to report a spill.

"Previously, generally speaking, an operator had a 20 barrel threshold before it had to report a spill to us," Hartman said. "A major exception to that has always been if it’s a spill that affects a waterway or an occupied structure, it needs to be reported immeditately."

Hartman says now the number of recorded spills in Colorado will rise as smaller spills are entered into the state’s database.