ND official: 3M gallons of saltwater spills, damage unclear

North Dakota Saltwater Spill
North Dakota Saltwater Spill AP Photo/Williston Herald, Zack Nelson)
North Dakota Saltwater Spill
North Dakota Saltwater Spill (AP Photo/Williston Herald, Zack Nelson)

WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) — State officials say nearly 3 million gallons of saltwater generated by oil drilling has leaked from a North Dakota pipeline, though the environmental effects aren’t immediately clear.

State health official Dave Glatt said Wednesday that the leak was detected Jan. 6, north of Williston. It’s the largest saltwater spill since the state’s oil boom began in 2006, and nearly triple the size of the previous record.

Glatt says cleanup efforts have started, but it’ll be difficult to measure damage until the ice melts.

He says there isn’t an immediate threat to drinking water, though some farmers are being asked to keep livestock away from two creeks, the smaller of which will be drained.

The saltwater, known as brine, is an unwanted oil-production byproduct. It’s considered an environmental hazard.

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