A massive oil spill from 2013 in North Dakota is still not cleaned up more than three years later.
In September 2013 a pipeline operated by Tesoro Corp. ruptured in a wheat field near Tioga, North Dakota. Over 800,000 gallons of oil were spilled, resulting in one of the biggest onshore oil spills in recent U.S. history.
Now, three years and three months later, only a third of the spill has been cleaned up.
Tesoro Corp. reports “round-the-clock” work to clean up the spill, costing them an estimated $60 million. They still are unable to provide an estimated date for the oil to be fully recovered. According to North Dakota Health Department environmental scientist, Bill Suess, the spill may never be completely cleaned up.
The rupture was discovered by a nearby farmer, who smelled the oil for days before discovering his combines’ tires covered in it. This means the pipeline was spurting oil for days before the company was even aware of it. Tesoro confirmed that the pipeline is monitored remotely and that the spill wasn’t detected.
Luckily, no water sources were contaminated and no wildlife hurt. 13 acres of land were affected. Crews are having to dig 50 feet underground to remove hundreds of thousands of tons of oil-tainted soil.
The ruptured pipeline is made up of 6-inch steel and was transporting fracked oil from the Bakken Shale. The Dakota Access Pipeline in comparison will be huge, made of 30-inch steel and will carry nearly 20 million gallons of oil daily.
Environmental groups are using this spill as just another example of how unsafe pipeline are, and that spills are not a question of “if” but “when.”
Recently there has been another pipeline spill in North Dakota, just 150 miles from Standing Rock where water protectors are currently camped to prevent the completion of the massive Dakota Access Pipeline. This latest rupture also went undetected by the pipeline company and was discovered by a landowner. The spill has leaked into the nearby water sources and may be the cause of death for several nearby animals.