It could take weeks to clean up 1 million gallons of saltwater that leaked from a North Dakota pipeline over the weekend. The saltwater, a byproduct of oil production, spilled into a bay leading to a lake used by a Native American reservation in the heart of the state's booming oil patch, according to company and tribal officials.
From oil to radioactive waste to saltwater, spills and even rail accidents involving trains carrying oil from North Dakota's Bakken field have become increasingly common since the state's energy industry began expanding rapidly.
The boom has had a notable impact on North Dakota's mainly rural, small-town population — bringing thousands of workers, largely men, into the state to work on the oil projects, which some have hailed as a success for job creation. Yet North Dakota also has the highest rate of worker deaths in the U.S.
In this week's spill, an underground pipeline near Mandaree leaked about 24,000 barrels, or just over 1 million gallons, of saltwater near Bear Den Bay, a tributary of Lake Sakakawea, Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall said. Tribal and company officials said the leak has been isolated and drinking water is unaffected. It wasn't known how much of the saltwater spilled into the bay.