Large Oilfield Spill Contained Near Grassy Butte

Jul 11, 2017

A lightning strike earlier this week in western North Dakota’s oil patch led to a large spill at a saltwater disposal site.


Lightning struck the site Monday night near Grassy Butte, about 15 miles from where firefighters have spent the first half of the week battling a wildfire.

 

The lightning caused a separate fire that burned through 18 tanks, according to the North Dakota Department of Mineral Resources.

 

The spill included both oil and brine, a salty wastewater that’s a byproduct of oil drilling. The bulk of it -- 136,000 gallons -- was brine. That's a significant amount, but not the largest spill the state has seen.

 

Cypress Energy Partners owns the facility and did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment. The Department of Mineral Resources says both the fire and spill were contained within the site.