Just barely a month ago, we were faced with an oil spill that leaked over 13,500 gallons of oil into two flooded Colorado rivers. Now, we bring you news of yet another oil spill, this time on a wheat field in North Dakota.
The spill was discovered on September 29, yet there was no public announcement of it for 11 days because of the government shutdown. What’s more, the spill was thought to be much smaller and not a cause for great alarm.
This was not the case. The original 750-barrel count quickly turned into 20,600 barrels of crude oil (or 865,200 gallons) as additional leakage was discovered below the surface of the wheat field. Corrosion of the 20-year-old pipeline has been cited as the spill’s cause.
To date, this spill is one of North Dakota’s largest since 1 million barrels of salt water brine, a by-product of oil production, leaked from a well site in 2006, reports Reuters.
The oil has now been contained, and Tesoro Logistics, the company responsible for the spill, started clean-up efforts last week. Some oil have been burned from the surface, while ditches and recovery wells have been dug and several vacuum trucks have come to suck up oil from the site.
According to the Associated Press (AP) via ABC News, the spill covered 7.3 acres, or the length of seven football fields. Thankfully, no water sources were contaminated and no wildlife was harmed. But the land, owned by farmer Steve Jensen, is no longer good for planting.
“We expect not to be able to farm that ground for several years,” Jensen told AP.
Even though just one individual’s livelihood was hurt by the spill, this should not serve as an excuse to diminish its significance. Almost every year, an oil spill occurs. Clean-up efforts begin and the incident becomes a distant memory. Then the cycle repeats itself. Talk of prevention and additional regulations always surfaces after the fact, but ultimately nothing much is done.
An industry with so many mistakes under its belt should have been gone long ago, but of course it has not, and oil companies seem even stronger now than they were before.
This spill and others serve as reminder after reminder that continuous pressure must be put on our companies and government to switch to clean energy alternatives. So, can we please start harnessing them and bid farewell to oil and spill disasters for good?
Image source: Waking Times