The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

April 15, 2014

Rugged geography hinders N.D. pipeline spill cleanup

WILLISTON, N.D. — A North Dakota health official says rugged geography has hindered cleanup efforts at a site of a pipeline spill.

About 100 barrels of oily brine production fluid from a 560-barrel spill near Medora have been cleaned up, but it is unlikely more will be collected, Health Department spokesman Kris Roberts said Tuesday.

“There’s probably a little more that they’re going to be able to collect, but we don’t know how much and probably not a lot,” Roberts said. “Sometimes there’s not a lot you can do.”

The North Dakota Health Department reported the spill Saturday in a news release. It happened from a pipeline owned by Oklahoma City-based Continental Resources about 10 miles south of Medora in what Roberts described as “extreme badlands terrain” that is “very steep, very rugged.”

Roberts said the liquid went down a deep ravine, which is complicating recovery efforts.  

Much of the fluid may have been absorbed by soil, he said, and some reached a creek that eventually feeds into the Missouri River. But Roberts said he doubted there would be any detectable amounts where the creek meets the river.

Both the health department and the Oklahoma company have taken water and soil samples from the site and will come up with a response plan once test results come in, Roberts said.

Samples were also taken from a ranch located about a mile downstream of the spill location, he said.

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