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Produced water pipeline leak contaminates rangeland near Killdeer

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A pipeline leak discovered late Wednesday spilled about 1,520 barrels, or 63,480 gallons, of produced water, contaminating rangeland in Dunn County, state regulators said Thursday.

Petro-Hunt LLC discovered the leak late Wednesday about 14 miles west of Killdeer, said Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager for the North Dakota Department of Health.

With rain in the forecast, crews worked until 3:30 a.m. Thursday to construct berms to prevent brine contamination from spreading, Suess said. Produced water, or brine, is a waste byproduct of oil and gas production.

The cause of the leak is still under investigation. The North Dakota Oil and Gas Division said an initial inspection showed the leak occurred at an intersection of two pipelines, said spokeswoman Katie Haarsager.

The area is being excavated, and inspectors anticipate they will have more information once the pipeline is exposed, Haarsager said.

The spill did not affect any surface water sources, Suess said. More work is needed to delineate the subsurface impact of the spill, he said.

Health inspectors and the Oil and Gas Division will continue to monitor the investigation and cleanup.

Walter Roach, vice president of Petro-Hunt, said the company had workers respond to the spill quickly and they’re committed to cleaning it up.

“We want to get it taken care of as quickly as possible,” Roach said.

(Reach Amy Dalrymple at 701-250-8267 or


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