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Pipeline leak contaminates creek in southwest North Dakota

MARMARTH, N.D. - A pipeline leak in southwest North Dakota has contaminated a tributary of the Little Missouri River, the North Dakota Department of Health said Monday, April 24.Oil emulsion, or a mixture of crude oil and brine, leaked from an un...

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MARMARTH, N.D. - A pipeline leak in southwest North Dakota has contaminated a tributary of the Little Missouri River, the North Dakota Department of Health said Monday, April 24.

Oil emulsion, or a mixture of crude oil and brine, leaked from an underground flow line operated by Continental Resources, the department said. The spill was discovered by the company's field staff on Saturday about 5 miles southwest of Marmarth. Marmarth is 3 miles east of the Montana border in southwest North Dakota.

Preliminary estimates put the spill at 25 barrels, or 1,050 gallons, said Bill Suess, spill investigation program manager.

An unknown amount of emulsion flowed into Little Beaver Creek, a tributary of the Little Missouri River, affecting about 14 miles of the creek, Suess said. Oil did not reach the Little Missouri River.

The crude oil is from the Red River Formation, which has a thicker consistency than Bakken crude and should be easier to clean up, Suess said.

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"It's not 14 miles of solid impact, it's a few clumps here and there," he said.

The section of the flow line that leaked is being excavated. Continental Resources is working with a contractor that specializes in water-oil cleanup.

The health department has been on site and continues to monitor the investigation and cleanup.

Related Topics: ENVIRONMENT
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