The North Dakota Department of Health has announced another oil and brine spill, the third such incident to happen this month.
According to a report from United Press International (UPI), the Health Department received notice from Oasis Petroleum that 490 barrels of oil and 455 barrels of brine were released due to storage tank overflow. The health department reports that nearly all of the spilled material has been recovered.
Personnel from the Health Department and the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division responded to the scene located in western Williams County. Brine water, also referred to as saltwater, is a byproduct of the oil and gas drilling process. The Environmental Protection Agency states that this water is usually extremely toxic to the environment and contains radioactive material and heavy metals. The water is many times saltier than sea water and the toxic substances can be extremely damaging to the environment and public health if released onto the surface.
The company gave no statement regarding the overflow, and the Health Department has given no indication of the incident being a threat to public health. This most recent incident occurred in the same region as the brine spill that happened earlier this month when a Summit Midstream owned salt water pipeline released roughly 70,000 barrels of the byproduct.
In other news, last week the Department of Health was notified of a source water spill in Williams County nine miles southwest of Tioga. Hess Bakken Investments reported that 2,500 barrels of source water used for enhanced oil recovery was released from a pipeline. The source water, which is higher in dissolved minerals and solids than fresh water, impacted a local stock dam. The company initiated cleanup and the Department of Health is assisting with remediation planning.