Lightning Strike, Explosion Cause Release Of Saltwater

WILLISTON, N.D. – A lightning strike early Sunday caused an explosion, fire and release from a saltwater disposal site about 12 miles northwest of Williston, the North Dakota Department of Health said Tuesday.

The incident destroyed the site, which is owned by Oasis Petroleum, the department said.

About 1,200 barrels, or 50,400 gallons, of saltwater, a byproduct of oil production, and one or more barrels of residual crude oil were released as a result of the incident, the Health Department said.

About 995 barrels, or 41,790 gallons, have been recovered.

Health Department inspectors and the North Dakota Industrial Commission, Oil and Gas Division, are on scene and working with Oasis on sampling and remediation. Initial screening indicated that no saltwater reached a nearby intermittent stream, the Health Department said.