North Dakotans Debate Pipeline Flowmeters - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

North Dakotans Debate Pipeline Flowmeters

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Some residents say flowmeters on saltwater pipelines could have prevented last week's million gallon spill.

Flowmeters are designed to monitor how much fluid is going through a pipeline system.

Combined with pressure valves they can sense when pressure is dropping.

A representative with the Dakota Resource Council says requiring flowmeters would reduce pollution and possibly prevent disastrous spills like the one in Mandaree.

Don Morrison says the state legislature rejected the DRC's bill to require flowmeters on saltwater lines last year.

"If we want to get the oil to market, which we do, we're going to have to do a whole lot better job up front, which will cost the oil companies more up front, but it will save all of us more in the long-run," says Executive Director of the Dakota Resource Council Don Morrison.

But, North Dakota Environmental Chief Dave Glatt says there are many factors that go into building and maintaining a safe and effective pipeline including location, design, monitoring and response.

He's not sure flowmeters are the only solution.

"It may not have prevented the spill. With the right instrumentation it might have been able to identify a leak was occurring and alerted them a little bit sooner to the problems," says North Dakota Department of Health Environmental Chief David Glatt.

The DRC plans to ask the legislature to require flowmeters on all pipelines in the upcoming session.

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