Dunn County holds open discussion on brine spills

In 2005 Dunn County had three reported spills, and in 2017 they had more than 300.

“As you increase the energy development around here we have more trucks, more people on the road, which leads to accidents, which leads to spills, ” said Denise Brew Dunn County Emergency Manager.

Some of the spills were Brine, which can be more than devastating for a landowner than an oil spill.

“We just had one recently . . it was a disposal well. The salt water spilled on to our land. . . It destroys your ground. You have to take it out and put new ground in,” said Richard Johnson.

To address landowners concerns, the NDSU Extension Center held an open discussion in Killdeer with state officials, land owners, and oil representatives.

“What avenues or what things can we do if something does happen. What happens if there is a spill or if a pipeline leaks,” said Greg Benz, NDSU Extension Agent for Dunn County

Since the oil boom, about 2,000 miles of pipeline has been put in annually in North Dakota, and landowners have concerns about the pace and quality it is being put in at.

“Installing and reclamation of the pipelines varies from company to company. Some of them do a very good job, some of them a very poor job, ” said Johnson.

The Oil and Gas Division of the North Dakota Industrial Commission is taking measures to make sure pipelines are constructed properly and monitored for leaks

“We had anecdotal evidence that there was a lack of oversight and workmanship during construction, ” said Kevin Connors, NDIC Pipeline Program Supervisor.

When brine spills do happen, Johnson said there isn’t much you can do as a landowner.

“The only way to not have that happen again is to slow down the process”.

NDSU Extension Service will be hosting another public discussion in Minot on the March 27.

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