An oil pipeline company introduces a new way of cleaning up oil spills


At the peak of the oil boom the North Dakota Department of health reports there were over 2,000 oil spills throughout the state. Now that number has dropped by at least half, but oil spills still continue to happen. 

“In the past it was more if you had a hydrocarbon spill you would dig it up and take it to an industrial landfill,” said David McQuade, senior environmental health director for Targa. 

But now there’s a new way to handle these spills. 

“They want to consume that hydrocarbon,” said McQuade.

McQuade is talking about bioremediation, where tiny organisms consume and break down environmental pollutants. 

“Bioremediation is activated using land farming techniques where you spread the spoil out, you apply the bacteria and then you add water cause they want water,” said McQuade.

It’s something that already occurs naturally. 

“We’re just enhancing them and giving them what they need to continue to recreate and have the volume that we need,” said McQuade. 

The technique is widely used and is also EPA approved. 

“Once the bugs consume all the oil and they die the soul becomes very very fertile,” said McQuade.

That same soil can then be reused.

Nathalie Gomez reporting: “Four months ago over 10,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil was brought to this sight in that time 85 percent of that oil has been cleaned up thanks to bio remediation”. 

“They’ll eat that hydro carbonation until it’s all gone,” said McQuade.

McQuade is now asking the state to streamline the permitting process so many more companies can consider land farming this process instead of taking contaminated soil to landfills. 

“We’re doing this to protect the environment and to the keep the landowners soil on their land,” said McQuade.

He hopes landowners along with the state are on board. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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