INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 09, 2011, 03:50 PM

Crews clean up spilled oil in southeastern North Dakota

Cogswell, ND (WDAY TV) - Crews are cleaning up oil after a fitting broke at a pumping station in rural Sargent County. No one was injured, but some who live nearby the spill near Cogswell say the spill of 500-barrels sparks some questions that need answering.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

Cogswell, ND (WDAY TV) - Crews are cleaning up oil after a fitting broke at a pumping station in rural Sargent County. No one was injured, but some who live nearby the spill near Cogswell say the spill of 500-barrels sparks some questions that need answering.

It is fortunate someone even saw the gusher. The pumping station here is located in a sparsely populated area of the county. A farmer just happened to look out and see the geyser, two treetops high.

Bob Banderet woke up Saturday morning, ready to do chores. It would not be a normal day.

BOB BANDERET - Saw Oil Shooting in the Air: “My daughter was the first out and she said there is oil shooting up from the pumping station. She can tell some tall tales, but I didn't think she could even make that one up.”

After calling the oil company's emergency number, Bob had to wonder.

“The first lady took all the info and then she asked if this was a drill or a joke.”

Special trucks were brought in to help in the clean up. A crew of 24 worked to suck up oil that had spilled on to rock and gravel near the pumping station. It is believed the oil shot at least 60-feet in the air, slightly spraying standing water and part of a field nearby. Trans Canada told us a valve fitting failed.

VERN MEIER - TransCanada Keystone: “Shutdown the pipeline as is our practice when we have an unplanned release of oil and we are doing a full investigation and we will not bring the line into service until we are satisfied that we have addressed the issue not just here but other sites that may have an issue.”

The oil company- farmer relationship around here is not Romeo and Juliet.

“They served me with condemnation when I would not give them an easement.”

At one point Trans Canada threatened to put the pipeline smack dab in the yard. With the water table so high in southeastern North Dakota, farmers have concerns about pipelines and safety.

PAUL MATTHEWS - Pipeline Runs near House: “He showed me a map and I said you are going right thru my house.”

The few farm families who live near the pumping station say it is fortunate the wind was down Saturday. It kept the oil from spraying and being carried across the township.

“They said this could not happen and here it is right here in front of you.”

The Sheriff's Department and Emergency Services rushed to the site to see what was impacted. Since so few families live near the pumping station, no evacuation was necessary and because the problem was a valve fitting issue at the station, and not a pipeline problem, emergency services officials did not have to worry about contamination of the water, which is always a concern when living near high water, which is common right now.

SANDY HANSON - Sargent County Emergency Manager: “We are in a flooding stage for Sargent County and that there was no running water and pooling so that meant very little water was affected as well.”

Pipeline officials told the county the company does fly over surveys of the system every two weeks.

Tags: