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Regina Garcia Cano Associated Press The Spokesman Review 01/22/15
Nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater generated by oil drilling have leaked from a North Dakota pipeline, an official said Wednesday, the largest such spill since the state’s current oil boom began and nearly three times worse than any previous spill. Two creeks have been affected, but the full environmental effect might not be clear for months.
Operator Summit Midstream Partners LLC detected the pipeline spill Jan. 6 about 15 miles north of Williston and told health officials then. Officials said they weren’t given a full account of the size until Tuesday.
Cleanup has begun and inspectors have been monitoring the area, but it will be difficult to measure the effects on the environment and wildlife until the ice melts, said Dave Glatt, chief of the North Dakota Department of Health’s environmental health section. Some previous saltwater spills have taken years to clean up.
“This is not something we want to happen in North Dakota,” Glatt said.
At the moment, the spill doesn’t threaten public drinking water or human health, Glatt said. He said a handful of farmers have been asked to keep their livestock away from the two creeks, the smaller of which will be drained.
The saltwater, known as brine, is an unwanted byproduct of oil and natural gas production that is much saltier than sea water and also may contain petroleum and residue from hydraulic fracturing operations.
The new spill is almost three times larger than one that fouled a portion of the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in July. Another million-gallon saltwater spill in 2006, near Alexander, is still being cleaned up nearly a decade later...... more here