Pump Leak Leads to ND Brine Spill

Thursday, December 3, 2015 @ 04:12 PM gHale

A faulty pump led to over 17,000 gallons of saltwater to spill from a disposal well near Watford City, ND.

The North Dakota Oil and Gas Division said Wyoming-based True Oil LLC on Monday reported the 17,640 gallons released, contained and recovered at the disposal well located about 15 miles southwest of Watford City.

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The cause of the spill was a pump leak, officials said.

The division said a state inspector has been at the site of the release.

Saltwater, or brine, is an unwanted byproduct of fracking oil production. It is many times saltier than sea water and can easily kill vegetation.

Brine spills have been an issue throughout North Dakota. In just one case in October, after workers lost control of a well in northwestern North Dakota, oil and saltwater continued to spill across the area until workers were able to shut it down four days later, officials said.

Oasis Petroleum North America, LLC, successfully killed the well located 15 miles south of White Earth, ND.

Oasis crews pumped more than 33,000 gallons of a bentonite clay and water mixture down the well and plugged it. The well is now permanently shut down.

Officials in that case said crews recovered 73,920 gallons of oil and 84,000 gallons of saltwater.