Air quality a concern near North Dakota fire

Fracking fluid storage facility fire allowed to burn out.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  July 23, 2014 at 9:23 AM
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BISMARCK, N.D., July 23 (UPI) -- North Dakota's Health Department said it's surveying air quality near the site of a fire at an industrial park in Williston, the heart of the state's oil patch. Chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing caught fire at an industrial warehouse in Williston. Officials said they're going to let the fire burn out on its own because pouring water on the blaze would create a secondary problem for nearby waterways.

The North Dakota Department of Health said it's monitoring air quality around the industrial park for any threats to public health.

"The fire in the industrial park has resulted in a plume of smoke that may adversely affect air quality in the surrounding area, and may cause health concerns," it said in a statement Tuesday.

North Dakota oil production is growing as a result of the advances in drilling technology for shale reserves. The state government said oil production for May, the last full month for which data are available, was 1,039,635 barrels per day, a new all-time high and a 3.8 percent increase from April.

The Department of Health said its primary concern was respiratory issues for people near the site of the blaze.

"People who are experiencing symptoms of respiratory distress should seek medical care immediately," it advised.

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