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Reclamation for waste pit that was eroding into Little Missouri River near complete

MEDORA -- An old oilfield waste pit that was eroding into the Little Missouri River is expected to be completely cleaned up and fortified soon, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

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Reclamation work is being done by the state Department of Mineral Rosources on an abandoned disposal well near the Little Missouri River south of Medora. (Submitted Photo by North Dakota Department of Minerals Resources)

MEDORA -- An old oilfield waste pit that was eroding into the Little Missouri River is expected to be completely cleaned up and fortified soon, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

The pit, located south of Medora, is a 1960s-era depository for oilfield cuttings and fluids that likely contains oil and salts.

Cody VanderBusch, the DMR’s reclamation specialist, said in an earlier interview that “a little bit” of the pit might have washed into the river.

“They should either be finished this week or next week,” he said.

VanderBusch and DMR spokesperson Alison Ritter explained that the company who owned the pit, Amerada Petroleum Corp., dried and plugged the pit after it was abandoned when a nearby oil well failed to produce. The company was released from its bond to the site in 1983, leaving the DMR responsible for its further reclamation.

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“We’ve actually known about (the site) for some time,” VanderBusch said.

However, the DMR was not aware of the erosion until it received state funding in April to examine the condition of it and other similar “legacy” sites.

VanderBusch said the DMR currently has six sites in the state on its priority list to fix, which it will move on to once this site is completed. It doesn’t have the funding to attend to them all at once, he said.

One of these sites is another reserve pit that is located in northern Billings County.

“The one by Medora was the highest priority site because of the proximity to the water,” he said.

VanderBusch said the site would be seeded over by spring.

Related Topics: MEDORA
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