Oklahoma-based Oneok Partners LP reported a 10-gallon (38 liter) spill of natural gas liquids, or “condensate,” from an underground pipeline at its Garden Creek gas plant near Watford City in July 2015.
Three years later, the company told the state that it had recovered 240,000 gallons (908,400 liters) of the liquid gas.
An incident report has not been done since June 2017. At that time, the report said the spill site would be inspected quarterly.
According to the AP, Neither the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which monitors coastal spills, nor the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could provide records to put the spill’s size in context, but according to available reports, if the 11-million-gallon figure is accurate, the Garden Creek spill appears to be among the largest recorded oil and gas industry spills in the history of the United States.
In a phone conversation with DeSmog in mid-July, Leader of the state’s Spill Investigation Program Manager, Bill Suess, rejected the fact that the spill was 11 million gallons.
Suess readily acknowledged that the officially listed spill size was too low. “We know it is significantly bigger than 10 gallons. We have known that since Day One,” Suess continued. Yet he defended the state’s decision to continue to list the spill as just 10 gallons.
“In North Dakota we do not regulate based on volume,” Suess added. “Whether we put a 10 there, a 100 there, a 1,000 there is not going to change our response to the spill, it is not going to change what the responsible party has to do, not going to change their remediation, it is not going to change anything other than your curiosity.”
Well Bill Suess, we are curious. How much does it cost for an 11 million gallon spill be reported as 10 gallons? And we pay your salary? As the kids say, GTFOOH –