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Brine spill reported in Bowman County, got into creek

MARMARTH — About 50 barrels of saltwater leaked from a pipeline approximately 9.5 miles south of Marmarth, and got into the nearby Kid Creek stream.

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The saltwater, which has three to four times the salinity of “what we’d like to see,” leaked from an underground pipeline delivering water from one formation to a deeper oil-producing formation for a flooding operation, said Kris Roberts, of the health department’s Environmental Health Section.

Denbury Onshore, LLC reported the leak, which it discovered about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. The North Dakota Department of Health has inspectors at the site and will test waters upstream and downstream to assess the impact of the spill.

About a 1½ miles down the stream from the leak is an irrigation pond, which will serve as a kind of dam and likely contain much of the leaked fluid, Roberts said.

The area where the leak was discovered will be cleaned up, and as for the rest, “saltwater is completely soluble, it’s just going to dilute,” he said.

The leak is on private land but the irrigation pond is on federal national grasslands.