North Dakota pipeline shut down after oil leaks into waterway - KTVQ.com | Q2 | Continuous News Coverage | Billings, MT

North Dakota pipeline shut down after oil leaks into waterway

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Cleanup operations were underway Thursday in western North Dakota after a pipeline leaked oil into a tributary of the Little Missouri River, according to the state Department of Health.

A six-inch line operated by Belle Fourche Pipeline leaked into the river northwest of Belfield in Billings County, according to Spill Investigation Program Manager Bill Suess.

The spill was first reported on private ranch land and has since spread to U.S. Forest Service Land.

The oil traveled about 2.5 river miles, according to Suess.

"Any time a spill enters waters of the state, we view it as a significant spill and we take it very seriously," said Seuss. "Although we don't believe there were any impacts to the Little Missouri, we still take it very seriously because that is a scenic river."

The spill is about 200 miles west of the controversial build site for the Dakota Access Pipeline, which was recently suspended by the Army Corps of Engineers.

Suess said that the pipe had been shut down and the spill is contained, but the scope of the leak into the Ash Coulee Creek is unclear.

"We do not have an estimate on the volume of release," said Suess. "Initial estimates of 1,000 barrels was off the top of someones head, I think."

Suess said no wildlife has been impacted.

“At this point it does not appear that marine life has been impacted,” said Seuss, who added that drinking water was not polluted.

A landowner made the discovery on Monday and reported it to authorities.

Cleanup efforts are being performed by personnel from the North Dakota Oil and Gas Division, as well as the health department.

Belle Fourche is operated within a company that also owns the Bridger and Butte pipelines, according to the company’s website.

The Bridger line was responsible for spilling as much as 50,000 gallons of crude into the Yellowstone River near Glendive in 2015.

The pipelines gather and transport crude oil in the Williston Basin of western North Dakota and eastern Montana, and the Powder River Basin of Wyoming.

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