Accessibility/Mobile Features
Skip Navigation
Skip to Content
Editorial News
Classified Sites

The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Cleanup area nearly 2 miles down ravine after ND saltwater spill; separated pipe suspected

Miranda Jones, vice president of environmental safety and regulatory at Crestwood Midstream Partners, and Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, pose for a photo near the site of a pipeline spill near Mandaree, N.D., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. A pipeline owned by a Crestwood subsidiary leaked around 1 million gallons of saltwater. Some of that liquid entered a bay that leads to a lake that is used for drinking water by the Three Affiliated Tribes. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)

Enlarge Image

Miranda Jones, vice president of environmental safety and regulatory at Crestwood Midstream Partners, and Tex Hall, chairman of the Three Affiliated Tribes, pose for a photo near the site of a pipeline spill near Mandaree, N.D., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. A pipeline owned by a Crestwood subsidiary leaked around 1 million gallons of saltwater. Some of that liquid entered a bay that leads to a lake that is used for drinking water by the Three Affiliated Tribes. (AP Photo/Josh Wood)

MANDAREE, N.D. - The path of brine spilled from an underground North Dakota pipeline extends nearly 2 miles down a steep ravine, but dead vegetation is limited to about 200 yards from the source of the spill, a company official said Thursday.

Miranda Jones, vice-president of environmental safety and regulatory at Crestwood Midstream Partners Inc., said the cause of the spill appears to involve a separation of the pipe that carries saltwater, a byproduct of oil and natural gas production. Crestwood subsidiary Arrow Pipeline LLC owns the pipeline.

Jones said the path of the brine is 8,240 feet long, and the company has estimated around 1 million gallons spilled. Officials have said it damaged trees, brush and grasses in the area.

Crews are carrying equipment down the steep badlands by hand because of the rough topography.

Claryca Mandan, natural resources administrator for Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes' natural resources department, said the area is "one of the worst places it could have happened" because the pipeline sits atop a bluff, and the saltwater ran down the rugged terrain.

The Environmental Protection Agency was assessing the site Thursday to ensure none of the brine affected the lake an American Indian reservation uses for drinking water.

In the first public statement in the two days since the spill was detected, the agency said it had no confirmed reports that the saltwater had reached Bear Den Bay. It leads to Lake Sakakawea, which provides water for the Fort Berthold reservation in the heart of western North Dakota's booming oil patch.

EPA said most of the spill was pooled on the ground, soaked into the soil and held behind beaver dams.

Cleanup at the reservation site continued Thursday and was expected to last for weeks, Jones said.

The leak likely started over the Fourth of July weekend. The pipeline was not equipped with a system that sends an alert when there is a leak, she said, and the spill was only discovered when the company was going through production loss reports.

Although the EPA said additional assessment activity was being conducted, company and tribal officials said the spill had been contained and did not affect the lake.

"We have a berm and a dike around it, around that bay area, to keep it from going into the lake," said Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall.

Saltwater is a naturally occurring, unwanted byproduct of oil and natural gas production that is between 10 and 30 times saltier than sea water. The state considers it an environmental hazard.

The byproduct, also called brine, may contain petroleum and residue from hydraulic fracturing operations.

Karolin Rockvoy, a McKenzie County emergency manager, said it was apparent from looking at vegetation that the spill went undetected for some time.

The number of saltwater spills in North Dakota has grown with the state's soaring oil production. North Dakota produced 25.5 million barrels of brine in 2012, the latest figures available.

Fort Berthold Indian Reservation plays a key role in the state's oil production, the second-highest in the nation. The reservation currently represents more than 300,000 of North Dakota's 1 million barrels of oil produced daily, according to the state's Department of Mineral Resources.

___

MacPherson reported from Bismarck, North Dakota.

  • Rate this Rate This Star Icon
  • This article has not yet been rated.
  • We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high. If you thought it was well written, do the same. If it doesn’t meet your standards, mark it accordingly.

    You can also register and/or login to the site and join the conversation by leaving a comment.

    Rate it yourself by rolling over the stars and clicking when you reach your desired rating. We want you to tell us what you think of our articles. If the story moves you, compels you to act or tells you something you didn’t know, mark it high.

Sort by: Newest to Oldest | Oldest to Newest | Most Popular 0 Commentscomment icon

You can comment on most stories on brandonsun.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is register and/or login and you can join the conversation and give your feedback.

There are no comments at the moment. Be the first to post a comment below.

Post Your Commentcomment icon

Comment
  • You have characters left

The Brandon Sun does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. Comments are moderated before publication. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

Brandon Sun Business Directory
The First World War at 100
Why Not Minot?
Welcome to Winnipeg

Social Media