Tioga Oil Spill: Who Knew What And When

Photo courtesy of Tanner Overland, Overland Aviation Photography, taken Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013

Timeline of Tesoro Logistics pipeline break and how agencies were notified about the oil spill, according to documents and interviews.

Sept. 29:

Between 8:30 and 9 p.m., landowner Steve Jensen discovers oil in his wheat field. Within minutes, Tesoro is notified.

After 10 p.m.: North Dakota Department of Health is first notified of spill through North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

Sept. 30:

12:16 a.m.* National Response Center is notified by Tesoro of a pipeline break that caused an unknown amount of oil to spill.

12:20 a.m. National Response Center notifies Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration, Environmental Protection Agency Region 8 and North Dakota Emergency Response Commission.

12:45 a.m.: Mountrail County emergency manager Donald Longmuir receives phone call about spill from sheriff’s office.

10:38 a.m.: North Dakota Department of Health spill report is filed, estimating the amount spilled as 750 barrels.

10:51 a.m.: Department of Health spill report is emailed to several North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources Oil and Gas Division staff.

Afternoon: Tesoro Logistics burns surface oil after receiving permission from the health department.

Oct. 1:

Federal government shutdown begins. National Response Center’s online oil spill incident reports are not available during the shutdown.

Oct. 2:

A Pipeline and Hazardous Material Safety Administration inspector is sent to the site.

Oct. 4:

Kris Roberts with the North Dakota Department of Health gets a call from Tesoro indicating the company is doing more investigation below the surface. Roberts said he is not given any indication that the spill is larger than 750 barrels.

Oct. 8:

Between 4:30 and 5 p.m.: Roberts receives a call from Tesoro with a revised spill estimate of 20,600 barrels.

5:02 p.m.: Roberts emails several people about the increased spill estimate, including his health department supervisors, the Department of Emergency Services, Department of Mineral Resources Oil and Gas Division and the county emergency manager.

Department of Mineral Resources Director Lynn Helms directs an inspector to visit the site.

5:05 p.m. National Response Center is notified by Tesoro that the spill estimate has been revised at 20,600 barrels. Within 15 minutes, PHMSA, EPA Region 8 and North Dakota Emergency Response Commission are notified.

Oct. 9:

Noon: Jared Tufte, Gov. Jack Dalrymple’s legal counsel, calls governor chief of staff Ron Rauschenberger to notify him of significant oil spill. Dalrymple, who is giving the keynote address at the 2013 Governor’s Energy Conference in Oklahoma, is provided some preliminary information later in the day and updated again the next day.

1:55 p.m. National Guard Maj. General David Sprynczynatyk receives an email from the Department of Emergency Services with a timeline of events after he is questioned about the spill by the governor’s office.

Justin Kringstad, director of North Dakota Pipeline Authority, which is not a regulatory agency, first learns of the incident after receiving a call from Dalrymple’s office seeking more information.

Oct. 10:

10-11 a.m.: First news stories about the pipeline break and oil spill are published.

Tesoro Logistics releases first statement about the spill. It was sent to Forum News Service at 11:50 a.m.

3:29 p.m. The North Dakota Public Service Commission receives notification of the spill in an email from PHMSA.

*Time changed to reflect central time zone.