WATER POLLUTION: Contamination remains high after N.D. wastewater spill – E&E PUBLISHING SERVICE

WATER POLLUTION: Contamination remains high after N.D. wastewater spill

Published: Wednesday, February 11, 2015
State documents released yesterday found contamination remains high in a creek running through North Dakota’s oil patch after a massive wastewater spill last month.A preliminary investigation into the 3-million-gallon leak north of Williston found heavily contaminated surface water in recent days in Blacktail Creek and on residential property more than a mile away from the spill site. Levels have dropped considerably downstream in the Missouri River, a major drinking water source, since the Jan. 6 spill.

North Dakota Department of Health officials said about 6 million gallons of mostly fresh water has been removed from the creek and up to 5,500 gallons of crude oil mixed with the toxic salt water has also been recovered thus far.

The extent of contamination in the water table remains unknown as company officials and regulators continue formulating a long-term strategy. The immediate concerns are from ranchers in the area, who may be unable to graze their cattle for an indeterminate period of time.

Pipeline owner Summit Midstream Partners LLC said in a statement yesterday that it was making “significant progress” in the cleanup but offered no timeline for completion.

Steven Way, the on-scene coordinator for the spill for U.S. EPA, said cleanup could take “somewhere between many months and potentially years” (Matthew Brown, Associated Press, Feb. 10). — DTB

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