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Produced water spill reported in Williams County

North Dakota’s Department of Environmental Quality is investigating a “produced water” spill in Williams County.

Produced water is a byproduct of oil production.

Bill Suess with DEQ’s Division of Water Quality said Grayson Mill Operating, LLC, notified the Department of the spill, six miles northeast of Williston. Suess said the company detected a leak, and started a shut-down procedure.

"They think it went about seven hours, before they got it shut down," Suess said.

Suess said the company estimates 5,500 barrels, or 231,000 gallons of produced water was released, and flowed about 100 feet over rangeland and into Stockyard Creek.

"A lot of creeks in that area have little, standing pools and thin streams that connect all these pools," Suess said. "So the produced water got stopped in a pool about 3,400 feet downstream from the release."

The creek runs into the Missouri River. But Suess said it appears none of the water reached the river. He said structures are now in place, and the remediation process has begun.

DEQ is on-site, inspecting the spill. Suess said he does expect some vegetation die-off from where the water flowed overland.

"Luckily, at this time of the year, aquatic life is pretty minimal in these creeks, because they tend to freeze up and freeze pretty solid," Suess said. "So we don't see a lot of movement of aquatic life. But we'll monitor that for damage."

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