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Close to 20,000 gallons of oilfield contaminants spill in Bowman County

A mixture of about 6,300 gallons of crude oil and 12,600 gallons of produced water spilled Monday at a well site in southwest North Dakota, escaping the well pad and flowing about 1,500 feet through a nearby drainage path.

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A pumpjack is pictured at an oil well in western North Dakota. Dickinson Press file photo

BISMARCK — A substantial amount of mixed oil and produced water spilled at a wellsite in Bowman County on Monday, Nov. 15, escaping the well pad and flowing about 1,500 feet through a nearby drainage area.

The contaminants flowed through the dry drainage path before spreading out into a flat and open space, according to an incident report filed to the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality Monday.

The oil well's operator, Denbury Onshore, has isolated the well and dug berms to stop further spread of the spill.

The mixture, known as emulsion, contained about 6,300 gallons of crude oil and 12,600 gallons of produced water, according to the indecent report.

The cause of the spill is under investigation. Cleanup is ongoing, and no waterways were impacted by the spill, according to the report.

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Bill Seuss, a spill investigator with the Department of Environmental Quality, said because of the remote location of the incident, respondents are bringing in equipment to build a temporary roadway to access the contaminated site.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Adam Willis, a Report for America corps member, at awillis@forumcomm.com.

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