Saltwater Tank Explodes in ND

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 @ 08:11 PM gHale


A saltwater tank exploded near Alexander, ND, Thursday causing several tanks to catch fire and spill about 2,700 barrels of saltwater and oil, the North Dakota Department of Health said.

The tank explosion at a disposal well site about 8 miles southwest of Alexander occurred at 12:15 p.m. Thursday, said McKenzie County Emergency Manager Jerry Samuelson.

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The explosion, which occurred after a truck driver unloaded and was leaving the site, caused 13 tanks to catch fire, Samuelson said. Officials are investigating the cause of the explosion, Samuelson said.

The facility, operated by Mesa Oil Services, had 2,440 barrels of saltwater and 270 barrels of oil on site at the time of the fire, said the North Dakota Department of Health.

Kris Roberts, with the department’s Division of Water Quality, inspected the site Thursday and said the spill was contained on location.

Firefighters put out the fire by 4:30 p.m., Roberts said. Most of the oil burned in the fire, he said. A significant amount of saltwater remained Thursday with a thin film of oil floating on the water, he said.

An environmental contractor was on site and was working to recover the liquid within hours, Roberts said.

The Alexander Fire Department responded and the truck driver who was on the site when the explosion occurred offered to get more water to extinguish the fire, Samuelson said. While the truck driver was heading back, he suffered a suspected heart attack, Samuelson said.

Emergency personnel took the man to the hospital in Williston, Samuelson said. The man’s name and condition were not immediately available.

There were no other injuries, Samuelson said.



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