Pipeline Leak Spills 20,600 Barrels Of Oil

TIOGA, N.D. – An estimated 20,600 barrels of Bakken crude spilled near here after a pipeline leaked in a wheat field in northwest North Dakota, an official said today.

Kris Roberts, environmental geologist with the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Water Quality, said Tesoro Logistics initially reported a spill on Sept. 29 after a farmer who was harvesting smelled crude oil.

At the time, the spill was estimated to be 750 barrels of oil, and the company received permission to burn off the oil that was on the surface so they could work safely, Roberts said.

After investigating further, they discovered there was additional oil below the surface on top of a layer of clay, Roberts said. This week, company representatives increased the estimate of the spill.

The pipeline break is in the northwest corner of Mountrail County about nine miles north of Tioga, Roberts said. The area affected is 7.3 acres on the top of a hill and the nearest homes are about a half mile away, Roberts said.

Drinking water sources are being monitored and no contamination of drinking water has been detected, Roberts said.

A Twin Cities consultant has been retained to assist in recovering the oil. As of Wednesday afternoon, about 1,165 barrels had been recovered, Roberts said.

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