Two separate saltwater spills in North Dakota this week have health officials scrambling to assess the damage and monitor the environmental impact of nearby wetlands.
News agencies from across the state reported that 50 barrels of brine were spilled at a site in Burke County owned by Petro Harvester Operating Company in Burke County. Company officials also indicated they believe that the damage might not have been an accident.
A second unrelated spill was reported by Condor Petroleum, Inc. in Divide COunty and involved one barrel of oil and 39 barrels of brine were spilled. NDDoH officials are evaluating a nearby wetland for water quality impacts. Health department officials report that a some saltwater reached a nearby wetland and they promised to work with the company to develop a remediation plan for the impacted site.
Wasterwater disposal has become a hot topic as hydraulic fracturing has increased over the last few years. After drilling, the wastewater is cleaned and then pumped deep into injection wells. The potential risks of this practice are still unknown but are commonly connected to increased earthquakes, water contamination and danger to the ecosystem.
Related: Wastewater Disposal to Continue