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Cleanup of Bakken oil spill nears completion

The cleanup of a North Dakota well blowout that occurred last week is nearing completion, according to a report by The Bismarck Tribune. The well released 600 barrels, or 25,000 gallons, of oil and saltwater.

The incident took place on January 2 at a well site owned and operated by the private firm Petro-Hunt LLC.  A company spokesman reported to the Tribune that the cause of the blowout has been attributed to the failure of a piece of well-completion equipment. The blowout occurred in the early morning hours after the well had been hydraulically fractured and caused no injuries. The site is located in McKenzie County, roughly 1 mile northwest of Keene, and contaminated an area roughly 500 by 500 feet.

The cleanup process is the responsibility of the company, according to North Dakota Department of Health Spokesman Karl Rockman. The health department was on the scene the day of the incident and will be returning to the site later this week to review the progress of the cleanup. The health department didn’t order particular instructions for the cleanup process. Yesterday the company stated that the cleanup was nearing completion and the procedure consisted of removing the polluted snow and soil. The released oil and saltwater was confined to the well pad location and didn’t reach a nearby tributary of the Missouri River. The company will need to dispose of the contaminated soil at an approved oil field waste site. In related news, Public to discuss ND’s radioactive waste problem.

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