On Monday, December 12, the North Dakota Department of Health provided
additional information about the extent of a Bakken oil spill that a landowner
discovered December 5.
Leak Detection Equipment Failed
Pressure gauges and meters on the pipeline failed to detect the leak, according
to a report by the
Bismarck Tribune. Current estimates suggest that more than 170,000 gallons of oil either
spilled into a Little Missouri River tributary or into the surrounding
hillsides. According to reports, some U.S Forest Service land may have
been affected as well. It is estimated that 5.4 miles of Ash Coulee Creek
The 6-inch pipeline was constructed in the 1980s. About 1,000 barrels of
oil pass through the pipeline each day. It passes through a “slumping”
hill, which may have contributed to a break, according to the Tribune.
A spokesperson for the company that owns the pipeline says aerial inspections
occur approximately two times a month.
The pipeline is owned by Wyoming-based True Cos, a company also involved
in a 75,000-gallon oil spill into the Yellowstone River in 2015 that contaminated
the water supply of Glendive, Montana.
Cattle Being Relocated
As of Sunday, December 11, cleanup crews had recovered approximately 36,000
gallons of oil. Crews also helped relocate cattle away from the affected
creek. Two cows died in the area, although the cause of death had not
been verified by a veterinarian.
Investigators from a number of federal and state agencies, including the
Environmental Protection Agency, continue to investigate the spill.
Although every oil spill is unique, those responsible for spills may be
held liable. When health hazards appear, those affected may consider litigation
seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering and possible
If you believe that a family member has been harmed by a Bakken oil spill
or any other
oil field accident, it is possible to consult with an attorney free of charge. To learn more, please