Cleanup Underway After Williston Saltwater Pipeline Spill

Excavation work is underway on Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013, near Williston, N.D., at the site of a saltwater pipeline spill. Amy Dalrymple/Forum News Service

WILLISTON, N.D. – About 1,240 barrels of saltwater were released north of here after a drain valve was left open on a pipeline, the North Dakota Department of Health said Tuesday.

Eric Bayes of Oasis Petroleum said an employee discovered a large puddle at a well site Monday morning north of Williston. The company believes the pipeline began releasing brine, a byproduct of oil production, early Sunday, Bayes said.

Most of the spill was contained on site and about 1,110 barrels of the wastewater were recovered, said David Glatt, chief of the health department’s Environmental Health Section.

Some saltwater did get off site and affected an area of a farm field that measures about 75 feet by 60 feet, Glatt said. It did not affect any water sources, Glatt said.

The health department, which has had an inspector on site, will take soil samples and work with Oasis on a plan to remediate the soil, Glatt said.

It was unclear Tuesday whether the valve on the pipeline had been left open or if it had been vandalized, Glatt said.

Oasis is early in the process of talking to employees and contractors to determine the root cause of the spill, Bayes said.

“We’re going to look at all possible causes,” he said.