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‘Suspicious activity’ may have caused spills in ND

TIOGA -- "Suspicious activity" may be to blame for two oil-related spills reported in Williams County over the weekend that released produced water and affected at least one nearby wetland.

TIOGA - “Suspicious activity” may be to blame for two oil-related spills reported in Williams County over the weekend that released produced water and affected at least one nearby wetland.
The incidents were two of five significant spills reported Tuesday by state officials.
Hess Corp. reported spills on two well sites Monday about three miles apart, both caused by opened valves, the North Dakota Department of Health said.
The company reported that vandalism may be the reason tank valves on both sites were open, but health officials have no evidence to confirm or disprove that, said Karl Rockeman, director of the Division of Water Quality.
“We’re calling this suspicious activity,” said Hess spokesman John Roper, adding that the Williams County Sheriff’s Office is investigating.
At one site, about 12 miles northwest of Tioga, about 500 barrels, or 21,000 gallons, of brine spilled and a portion escaped the site and impacted a wetland, the health department said.
Remediation efforts have begun and the company used vacuum trucks to recover fluid at the site.
The second spill, about 15 miles northwest of Tioga, involved about 460 barrels, or 19,320 gallons, of brine. Some of that spill may be affecting a different nearby wetland, but the site was still being surveyed, health officials said.
The saltwater spills also will likely affect nearby croplands, Rockeman said.
Personnel from the Oil and Gas Division had been on site. Health department personnel were en route to the site Tuesday.
Inspectors from both departments were also responding to other spill incidents in the Oil Patch Tuesday.
“It seems like there were a number of spills that did impact water this weekend, moreso than we would expect to see,” Rockeman said.
In McKenzie County, an estimated 30 barrels, or 1,260 gallons, of oil released Friday evening after a truck that was filling with water over filled and some oil that was left in the tank spilled out the truck’s overflow vent, the health department said.
Some of the spill impacted an isolated oxbow of Charbonneau Creek less than a mile west of Cartwright, but did not enter the creek.
Rockeman said the truck was filling with fresh water at Caliber Midstream Water Depot but there was some residual oil left in the tank from a previous load.
“Luckily it did not impact the creek, but the potential was there,” Rockeman said.
On Sunday, about 400 gallons of diesel fuel spilled at a bulk sales facility near Alexander, affecting a drainage adjacent to the facility that is a tributary to Lonesome Creek, Rockeman said.
An error during loading from a truck to the facility caused the spill, he said.
The Oil and Gas Division reported Tuesday that a pump leak caused about 500 barrels of brine, or 21,000 gallons, to spill in Divide County but the contamination was contained at the site.
Murex Petroleum Corp. reported the spill on Sunday at a well site five miles south of Fortuna. The saltwater, along with 1,260 gallons of snow and ice that were present prior to the release, were contained and recovered on site, a news release from the Oil and Gas Division said.
A state inspector had been to the location.

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