Oilfield wastewater spill reported in northwest North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — State regulators are investigating the spill of oilfield wastewater from a broken pipeline in northwestern North Dakota.

Karl Rockman, of the state Department of Environmental Quality, said Hess Corp., the pipeline’s owner, reported the saltwater spill near Ray on Aug. 15, and estimated its size at 8,400 gallons (31,797 liters). Rockman said Monday the spill now appears to be at least 100 times that.

It was not immediately known what caused the leak to the pipeline. Agency officials were on scene to oversee the cleanup and investigate the spill, said Rockman, director of the department’s division of water quality.

Rockman said it was unknown if any drinking water sources were threatened, or how much land was affected.

Saltwater is an unwanted byproduct of oil and gas development and is considered an environmental hazard by the state. It is many times saltier than sea water and can easily kill vegetation exposed to it.

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