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Huge North Dakota oil spill finally cleaned up after five years

24 September 2018

The clean-up of a 840,000 gallon (3.8 million litre) leak from a Tesoro Logistics oil pipeline which polluted a site in the heart of the Bakken Shale in 2013 some 10 miles northeast of Tioga, North Dakota, is now complete. Tesoro, now known as Andeavor, originally thought it could clean up the site in two years for about $4 million. It later estimated the cost at $93 million, and was fined $454,000 by the state.

Stock image
Stock image

The leak was one of the biggest onshore spills in US history covering about 70 acres (29 hectares), state officials said.
The Texas-based company and regulators have said a lightning strike may have caused the rupture in the 6-inch (15-centimetre) diameter steel pipeline, which runs from Tioga to a rail facility outside of Columbus, near the Canadian border.
North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist Bill Suess said less than a third of the 840,000 gallons that spilled was recovered. The remaining oil was cooked from the soil in a process called thermal desorption.
He said about 1.4 million tons (1.3 million metric tons) was excavated from the site and treated. Crews had to dig as deep as 60 feet (18 metres) to remove oil-tainted soil. No water sources or wildlife was affected, he said.

Suess said the site will be monitored by the company and the state for up to five years.

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