3,000 Barrels of Brine Spill in ND

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 @ 01:08 PM gHale

A pipeline near the town of Mandaree, ND, on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation leaked 3,000 barrels of brine, state agencies said Monday in the second incident at the reservation by the same company in as many months.

The North Dakota Industrial Commission and the state Department of Health said Arrow Water LLC, a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners LP, operates the pipeline. The leak ended up discovered late Friday.

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Brine is an unwanted byproduct of oil production and is many times saltier than sea water. The state considers it an environmental hazard by the state.

In early July, a pipeline operated by another Crestwood subsidiary leaked 1 million gallons, or 24,000 barrels, into the badlands near Mandaree. That incident was one of the largest oil field spills in state history. A barrel equals 42 gallons.

The brine from the July spill traveled nearly 2 miles down into a ravine, killing vegetation along its path. Oddly enough, through a series of beaver dams, it helped stem the flow of the fluid, the company and Three Affiliated Tribe officials said the brine did not reach a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, a source of drinking water for the reservation.

However, the tribes’ environmental director, Edmund Baker, said the brine did reach the lake.

The July spill has led to a criticism from tribal members upset over what they see as a lack of information from the tribes and Crestwood about an incident that may have threatened their water supply. No water test results are public.

There are few details about the latest spill. A spill report said there could be pollution with the soil and vegetation. It adds they isolated the spill and cleanup crews are at the scene.

The report also mentions the area where the spill occurred slopes toward Skunk Creek Bay or a tributary. That bay is a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, but the Environmental Protection Agency says there is no threat to water resources based on the information they received on Friday.

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