Oil Spill North of Tioga - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Oil Spill North of Tioga

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An oil pipeline owned by Tesoro spewed over 20-thousand barrels of crude oil about 8 miles north of Tioga in late September, and the massive clean-up effort continues today.

The spill was discovered on September 27th -- two days earlier than first reported -- by a farmer harvesting wheat.

(Steven Jensen - Landowner) "Really don't really know much...just that it is awful big."

Steven Jensen discovered the problem about two weeks ago.

At the time of discovery, only about 750 barrels of leaked oil had come to the surface, and that was the initial estimate of the amount of crude that had spilled.

However after more inspection, it was discovered the spill was far more extensive -- about 20-thousand-600 barrels.

An area the size of about seven football fields is affected -- much of it underground.

A Minnesota company is working to clean-up the mess, and our camera was only allowed about a half mile away.

Jensen feels that Tesoro has acted professionally during the incident...but warns that better safety guidelines need to be set.

(Steven Jensen - Landowner) "It is just a fact of life around here anymore people...any other companies are going to learn from this that new monitoring devices and equipment, more visible checks on existing lines -- it is all going to have to be done to make this work for the future."

What about the present?

Jensen says he has been told it will take at least a few months to wrap up the clean-up efforts.

Through yesterday less than 10 percent of the crude had been captured.

And going forward, the land won't be farmable for at least two to three years.

The good news?

According to the state Health Department, the water supply hasn't been affected.

(Steven Jensen - Landowner) "We have found that there is a layer of clay, subsurface that is going to help this out a lot. The water is going to be protected."

Jensen says the Tesoro line that spilled the oil was installed in 1993.

He hasn't heard from the company about any compensation for the loss of crops now, or in future years when the land won't be suitable for growing.

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