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Oil spill initial estimate doubled to 800 barrels: Department of Health says about half escaped into dry drainage

Courtesy Photos by North Dakota Department of Health Crews clean up a crude oil spill near Alexander on Thursday. The pipeline spilled 800 barrels, according to the North Dakota Department of Health.

ALEXANDER -- The North Dakota Department of Health has doubled the initial estimate of an oil spill Thursday in McKenzie County, now saying that 800 barrels leaked from an above-ground section of pipeline because of a gasket failure.

The spill occurred Thursday about six miles northeast of Alexander at a facility owned by Hiland Crude LLC, said Dennis Fewless, director of the Division of Water Quality for the North Dakota Department of Health said.

Hiland personnel discovered the spill about 5 a.m. Thursday at the Camp Creek injection station, Hiland Partners said in a statement. Before 6:30 a.m., specialized contractors were on site and the flow of crude oil was substantially controlled, the company said.

Fewless said Thursday that the spill was estimated at 400 barrels, or 16,800 gallons, but he updated that figure Friday to 800 barrels, or 33,600 gallons.

The statement from Hiland on Thursday said about 100 barrels got off of the location, but a news release Friday from the Health Department said about half of the 800 barrels escaped into a dry drainage area and half stayed within the containment area.

No surface waters were affected by the spill, the department reported. Crews were building berms to contain the oil, cleanup was under way and a state inspector was on site to assist with remediation.

Contractors were removing contaminated soil, with all off-site remediation expected to be completed Friday, the company said Thursday.

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