On Tuesday, North Dakota regulators said that around 4,200 barrels of crude oil has contaminated 5.4 miles of the waterway in a remote area in the westernmost part of the state, The Wall Street Journal reported.
In a statement, the North Dakota Department of Health said the oil was leaked from a pipeline in Billings County. The six-inch-diameter pipeline is operated by True Oil subsidiary Belle Fourche Pipeline.
The spill was discovered on Monday. It is located approximately 16 miles northwest of Belfield.
The health agency said that an estimated 4,200 barrels of oil leaked from the pipeline. The regulators have found that about 3,100 barrels of leaked oil flowed into Ash Coulee Creek, contaminating approximately 5.4 miles of the creek.
The pipeline was shut down immediately after the leak was discovered by a landowner on Dec. 5. The monitoring equipment installed on the pipeline was unable to detect the leak.
“It’s not a drinking water source for humans, but it is for cattle,” Bill Suess, the health department spill investigation program manager, was quoted as saying by the WJS. He added that they found two dead cows in the area, and their cause of death is being investigated.
A report from Twin Cities suggests that 130,200 gallons of oil were spilled into a tributary of the Little Missouri River and another 46,200 gallons leaked into a hillside.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration are also investigating the spill.
CNN reported that the spill has occurred 150 miles from Cannon Ball, North Dakota, where people are protesting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Now activists have “some fuel to justify their protests.”
Protests, led by the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, are opposing the 1,172-mile Dakota Access Pipeline.
The tribe said that the $3.7 billion project to connect oil-rich areas of North Dakota to Illinois will not only a threat to its environment, but will also cut through sacred land. The tribe said that construction would destroy burial sites, prayer sites and culturally significant artifacts.
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