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One year later, the Jensen family continues to cope with oil spill cleanup

Last year, one of North Dakota’s largest recorded oil spills happened in Tioga. Roughly 20,600 barrels of crude polluted the wheat-field cropland of Patty and Steve Jensen. Now, one year later, the Jensens are doing their best to roll with the unstoppable Bakken oil boom.

The Dickinson Press reported that San Antonio-based Tesoro Logistics claimed the clean-up is far from over. Tesoro spokeswoman Tina Barbee stated that cleaning up the more than 20,000 barrels of crude will cost around $20.6 million and is expected to take another 12 to 18 months.

It’s a disappointing event for the company. We’re committed to getting this land back to its original condition, so that the Jensens can start farming again,” said Eric Haugstad, Tesoro’s director of contingency planning and emergency response.

About 2.5 acres of farmland were contaminated within an 8-acre area. Some of the contamination reaches 30 feet below the ground with the deepest spots reaching 50 feet. The Health Department’s environmental health section announced on April 25 that it had approved a reclamation plan which would excavate the polluted soil and heat it to extremely high temperatures in order to remove the oil.

According to the Dickinson Press, after the cleanup service is completed there will be groundwater and topsoil monitoring at the spill site, as determined by the Health Department.

To read more about the status of the unfortunate events of last year’s oil spill in Tioga, along with how the Jensons are coping with the loss of land and their relationship with Tesoro Logistics, check out the following article published in the Dickinson Press:  “After the oil spill: A year later, landowners trying to ‘go with the flow’ on Tioga cleanup.”

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