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North Dakota produced water release among state's largest

Tens of thousands of barrels of produced water leak into regional waters.

By Daniel J. Graeber
Produced water release in North Dakota among the state's largest. UPI/Shutterstock/Calin Tatu
Produced water release in North Dakota among the state's largest. UPI/Shutterstock/Calin Tatu

WILLISTON, N.D., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- A produced water release from a North Dakota oil site presents no public health risk, a company said, though the 70,000 barrels spilled is among the largest.

Summit Midstream confirmed a release from a four-inch pipeline in Williston, N.D., at the heart of the state's oil boom. The company said Wednesday around 70,000 barrels of produced water were released. Since remediation efforts began, as much as 65,000 barrels of water were pulled from the region's Blacktail Creek, though most of that was in the form of freshwater.

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"We will continue to work tirelessly to see that the cleanup is completed and any issues in the surrounding environment are properly addressed, and will provide stakeholders with updates as developments warrant," Chief Operating Officer Rene Casabadan said in a statement emailed to UPI.

The company said produced water contains mostly common salts and minerals like magnesium. Some petroleum hydrocarbons may also be present in the liquids.

The Environmental Protection Agency said some of the material in produced water may contain toxic metals and radioactive substances that can be "very damaging" to the environment and public health if released on the surface.

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The release was first announced by state officials in early January. Summit's latest statement verifies the amount of material spilled.

Meadowlark and state officials both confirmed there is no threat to the public of the environment at this time.

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