North Dakota Spill Baby Spill

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An Assessment of recent major fracking related spills in North Dakota and how it affects the KXL risk analysis. A comparison of transportation methods for Bakken Crude and Tar Sands leads to the conclusion that none are safe under current regulations.


<ul><li><p>N DAKOTA </p><p>#12 SPILL BABY SPILL </p><p>Some people have suggested that the only solution to our energy crisis is to frac more wells and </p><p>produce more tar sands. Unfortunately the industry has been all too eager to justify this </p><p>conclusion by minimizing the consequences of spills and using biased risk analysis. As the </p><p>examples from North Dakota show, major spills have been far more common and potentially far </p><p>more devastating than the industry predicts. There is no more misleading analysis than that </p><p>submitted by TransCanada for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline. </p><p>The chart below is from Appendix P of the Risk Assessment for the Final Env. Impact Assess for </p><p>KXL. The analysis estimates that a spill of 1000 barrels (42,000 gallons) to 10,000 barrels </p><p>(420,000 gallons) will occur once every 100 years to 1000 years. </p><p>Furthermore, the estimate of Benzene toxic exposures is completely unsupported by any plume </p><p>modeling or previous major spills. </p></li><li><p> The analysis above from TransCanada unbelievably estimates that recommended Benzene levels </p><p>for drinking water (5 parts per billion) will exceed these Maximum Contaminant Levels only </p><p>once in an unlikely 75,000 years to a ridiculous 830,000 years. So why have we had five major </p><p>spills (see below) of oil and fracking related fluids in N. Dakota in the past 10 years each with </p><p>more than 420,000 gallons and most more than twice that spill volume? In the last 10 years, each </p><p>of the 5 Major Frac- related spills below exceeded this level. </p><p>Name Date Location Company Gallons Type Source Cause </p><p>Mandaree 7/9/14 Bear Den </p><p>Bay </p><p>Crestwood 1 </p><p>million </p><p>Frac </p><p>water </p><p> Pipe </p><p>separation </p><p>Casselton 12/30/2013 BNSF 400,000 Bakken </p><p>Oil </p><p>Tank </p><p>Car </p><p>Derailment </p><p>Big </p><p>Gumbo </p><p>Creek </p><p>11/25/2013 Bowman </p><p>Co </p><p>Denbury 715,000 Frac </p><p>Water </p><p>3 Plastic </p><p>Pipe </p><p>Temperature </p><p>Break </p><p>Tioga </p><p>Farm </p><p>9/29/13 N. Tioga Tesoro 1 </p><p>million </p><p>Bakken </p><p>Oil </p><p>6 pipe Lightning </p><p>Alexander Jan 2006 N Dakota </p><p>Creek </p><p>Zenergy 1 </p><p>million </p><p>Frac </p><p>Water </p><p>3 Plastic </p><p>Pipe </p><p>The 5 largest Fracking-related onshore spills in ND </p></li><li><p>North Dakota Major Spills Index Map </p><p>1) Mandaree-Bear Den Bay Spill </p><p>Sometime during the July 4th</p><p>, 2014 weekend, a major spill of saltwater and fracking chemicals </p><p>occurred on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near Mandaree, ND. Crestwood Midstream </p><p>reported a loss of about 1 million gallons of frack water from a separated pipe on top of a </p><p>badlands bluff in rugged terrain described as "one of the worst places it could have happened". </p><p>All of the equipment needed must be carried in by hand due to the inaccessible location. The </p><p>underground line contained brine from fracking operations along with unknown chemicals. The </p><p>brine is between 10 and 30 times saltier than sea water while the pipe still contained oil residues. </p><p>Reportedly, the leak took a week to find because the line did not have electronic pressure </p><p>monitoring and the spill was only discovered when the company was going through production </p><p>loss reports. The result was a contaminated ravine nearly 2 miles long containing dying trees, </p><p>brush and grasses. The ravine leads into the Missouri River Reservoir which flows into Lake </p><p>Sakakawea, a source of drinking water for the reservation. Tribal officials decided to take </p><p>Mandaree's water supply off its normal source, until questions about the million-gallon leak are </p><p>answered. The area is dotted with beaver dams and may take weeks to clean up. There were 141 </p><p>pipeline leaks reported in North Dakota in 2012, 99 of which spilled about 8,000 barrels of </p><p>saltwater. </p><p>This single spill of frac water was more than twice of all those combined. Following the trio of </p><p>recent catastrophic environmental spills, a North Dakota spokesman for the Sierra Club claimed </p><p>the treatment of fracking-related fluids is bordering on negligence. "This is outrageous. The </p><p>regulating agencies and industry need to take this more serious." </p></li><li><p> Google Earth index of Bear Den Bay, The Missouri River and Lake Sakakawea </p><p>Photo of dying vegetation after Bear Den Bay spill </p><p>2) Casselton Train Collision </p><p>On December 30, 2013, a westbound BNSF train carrying soybeans derailed 13 of 112 cars </p><p>approximately one mile west of Casselton. An adjacent eastbound BNSF train carrying Bakken </p><p>Crude oil struck wreckage from the westbound train. The collision derailed the first 21 of 106 </p><p>cars and ignited the crude oil and caused a chain of large explosions, which were heard and felt </p><p>several miles away. The resulting fireball created a massive cloud of black smoke, which </p><p>resulted in a voluntary evacuation of the city and surrounding area (about 1400 people) as a </p><p>precaution. Of the 20 tank cars that derailed, 18 were breached (punctured) with initial estimates </p><p>that more than 400,000 gallons of Bakken crude oil was released. </p></li><li><p> Casselton Fire from petroleum crude oil tank car explosion. </p><p>Photo credit: Dawn Faught </p><p>Although no casualties were reported, the incident occurred in proximity to a populated area and </p><p>renewed safety concerns regarding the transportation of hazardous materials by rail, especially in </p><p>the wake of the Lac-Mgantic derailment in Canada earlier in the year. Casselton mayor Ed </p><p>McConnell, acknowledged that the town "dodged a bullet." [Source: Wiki and NTSB 2013 </p><p>Preliminary Report]. On January 2, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration </p><p>(PHMSA) issued a major safety alert, declaring oil obtained via hydraulic fracturing (fracking) </p><p>in the Bakken Shale may be more chemically explosive than the agency or industry previously </p><p>admitted publicly. A Canadian government study of North Dakota crude concluded it had a </p><p>volatility comparable to that of a gasoline product. </p><p>3) Bowman Spill </p><p>MARMARTH, N.D. -- A saltwater pipeline leak on Nov. 25, 2013 near the western border of </p><p>Bowman Co, ND has released 17,000 barrels of brine, polluting more than a mile of a creek in </p><p>the Badlands of southwest North Dakota, authorities said Tuesday. The spill, which is equivalent </p><p>to about 714,000 gallons, is one of the largest saltwater spills to occur in North Dakota, </p><p> </p><p>The spill, reported Monday by Denbury Onshore, reached the Big Gumbo Creek and flowed </p><p>down 1.4 miles of the creek into a rural area of Bowman County, about 14 miles south of </p><p>Marmarth, the North Dakota Department of Health said. The pipe that leaked was a 3 fiberglass </p><p>line carrying production water from one Denbury facility to another. </p><p> </p></li><li><p>The cause of the leak is under investigation but shifting ground due to changes in temperature </p><p>may have caused the pipeline to split. </p><p> </p><p>According to a Bowman County Emergency Manager This is tough. It sometimes kills grass </p><p>for years to come after if its not cleaned up properly. Its actually more of a concern, </p><p>environmentally, than oil is. </p><p> </p><p>Another spill was reported by the same company in the same area on Jan 10, 2014. A flow of </p><p>2000 barrels (84,000 gallons) of contaminated water got into the nearby Kid Creek stream less </p><p>than 2 months after the previous spill. </p><p>There were 74 pipeline leaks in 2013 that spilled 22,000 barrels of saltwater, 17,000 barrels of </p><p>which was from a single mishap in Bowman County, state records show. North Dakota oil </p><p>drillers produced a record 313.5 million barrels of crude in 2013 along with about 350 million </p><p>barrels of contaminated water, state data show. </p><p>4) Tioga Spill </p><p>Tioga Oil spill in Wheat Field </p><p>On Sept. 29, 2013, a farmer whose combines tires were coated in crude discovered oil spewing </p><p>from the ground. The state initially thought just 750 barrels of oil was involved, but it turned out </p><p>to be one of the largest spills in North Dakota history an estimated 20,600 barrels (865,000 </p><p>gallons) covering over 7.3 acres of land, or about the size of seven football fields. This incident </p><p>appears to be the largest to date in the Bakken Shale Formation and it wasnt publicly reported </p><p>for 11 days. </p></li><li><p> A photo of the in situ burning of oil from a distance; </p><p>Photo Credit: Greenpeace USA </p><p>Over 865,000 Gallons of Fracked Oil in the Soil; </p><p>Photo Credit: Greenpeace USA </p><p>This spill occurred in a field near Tioga a small town whose motto is "Oil Capital of North </p><p>Dakota." It was not far from another wheat farm where oil was first discovered in North Dakota </p><p>in 1951. </p></li><li><p> The source of the spill was a quarter-inch hole in a 20-year-old, 6-inch pipeline. According to </p><p>Tesoro, the hole was caused by a lightning strike or electrical discharge which resulted in </p><p>localized heating of the pipe wall above the melting point of the steel. If a hole in a 6 pipe </p><p>can cause the largest spill in the Bakken Shale, then much larger spills and severe consequences </p><p>are likely in North Dakotas future. </p><p>A vacuum truck cleans up oil near Tioga, N.D </p><p>5) Alexander Yellowstone River Spill </p></li><li><p>l </p><p>Photo of 2006 spill in Charbonneau Creek </p><p>A 2006 Zenergy pipeline spill dumped about 1 million gallons of saltwater into Charbonneau </p><p>Creek in northwest North Dakota. At the time it was called the worst environmental disaster in </p><p>state history. The ruptured pipeline allowed saltwater to spew unnoticed for weeks into a </p><p>tributary of the Yellowstone River near Alexander and caused a massive die-off of fish, turtles </p><p>and plants and threatened cattle in the area. The rancher sued Zenergy for more than $75,000 and </p><p>settled out of court for an undisclosed amount. </p><p>In September 2007 Zenergy Inc. agreed to pay North Dakota $123,300 as part of a settlement </p><p>with the state. This includes violations of state laws and regulations, as well as reimbursement to </p><p>the Department of Health. As part of the agreement, Zenergy continues to clean up the </p><p>contaminated soil and water impacted by the spill. This spill eventually led to proposed </p><p>legislation to mandate flow meters and cutoff switches on such lines which was overwhelmingly </p><p>rejected in 2013 by the State Legislature. </p><p> </p></li><li><p> North Dakota Major Frac Spills 2000 - 2013 </p><p>As the map above indicates, the North Dakota Dept. of Health has recorded over 8000 spills of </p><p>oil and frac fluids between 2000 and 2013. The vast majority of these spills were neither </p><p>monitored nor regulated. There is no legal requirement for public disclosure of these types of </p><p>spills in the state. </p><p>Comparison of Pipe Sizes for N. Dakota Major Spills </p><p>All of the major spills described above flowed through pipes 6 inches or smaller or from tank car </p><p>spills. Now the industry wants to move Tar Sands and Bakken Crude through pipelines 20 or 36 in diameter. It is foolish to believe that these larger pipe sizes wont lead to much larger spills in the future. This is what a 20 inch pipeline looks like after it ruptures. </p></li><li><p>Ruptured Segment from Pegasus Pipeline in Mayflower, AR </p><p> </p><p>Part of the 36 Keystone XL pipeline under construction </p><p>Source: </p></li><li><p> Major Crude Oil Rail Routes in Mid-West US </p><p>There are no safe routes for transporting Bakken Crude or Tar Sands across the US. by train or </p><p>pipeline. All that we can be sure of is that oil eventually leaks and the more toxic oils seem to </p><p>leak the most frequently. </p><p>North Dakota Spills of Oil and Fracking Fluids (2000-2013) </p></li><li><p>North Dakota has some of the most lax regulations for oil transport of any state and they are </p><p>likely to suffer some of the worst consequences. It is a strange bargain when the health and </p><p>safety of the many are sacrificed for the wealth of a few. The illusion is that they believe the </p><p>risks are manageable, when in fact they have just been lucky so far. What are they going to say </p><p>when they set fire to an entire city. </p><p>Major Oil Train Routes in North Dakota </p><p>The transport of Bakken Crude is particularly dangerous under present regulations and until the </p><p>state and federal agencies confront this reality, lives will be lost. Moving Bakken Crude through </p><p>the same pipelines as Tar Sands is a recipe for disaster. </p></li></ul>