Oil Field Accidents Include Hazardous Oil Spills

On Monday, December 12, the North Dakota Department of Health provided additional information about the extent of a Bakken oil spill that a landowner discovered December 5.

Leak Detection Equipment Failed

Pressure gauges and meters on the pipeline failed to detect the leak, according to a report by the Bismarck Tribune. Current estimates suggest that more than 170,000 gallons of oil either spilled into a Little Missouri River tributary or into the surrounding hillsides. According to reports, some U.S Forest Service land may have been affected as well. It is estimated that 5.4 miles of Ash Coulee Creek was contaminated.

Pipeline Details

The 6-inch pipeline was constructed in the 1980s. About 1,000 barrels of oil pass through the pipeline each day. It passes through a “slumping” hill, which may have contributed to a break, according to the Tribune. A spokesperson for the company that owns the pipeline says aerial inspections occur approximately two times a month.

The pipeline is owned by Wyoming-based True Cos, a company also involved in a 75,000-gallon oil spill into the Yellowstone River in 2015 that contaminated the water supply of Glendive, Montana.

Cattle Being Relocated

As of Sunday, December 11, cleanup crews had recovered approximately 36,000 gallons of oil. Crews also helped relocate cattle away from the affected creek. Two cows died in the area, although the cause of death had not been verified by a veterinarian.

Investigators from a number of federal and state agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, continue to investigate the spill.

Although every oil spill is unique, those responsible for spills may be held liable. When health hazards appear, those affected may consider litigation seeking compensation for medical expenses, pain, suffering and possible lost wages.

If you believe that a family member has been harmed by a Bakken oil spill or any other oil field accident, it is possible to consult with an attorney free of charge. To learn more, please contact us.