Oil pipeline spills 20,600 barrels of crude in North Dakota wheat field

map of oil pipeline spills
Screen capture Center for Biological Diversity

More than 20,600 barrels of crude oil have spilled into a North Dakota wheat field, but thankfully because of a 40 foot thick layer of clay beneath the field, the oil has been relatively contained and is not believed to have reached a water source.

The Associated Press's James MacPherson reports that the cause of the spill is still unknown:

The hole in the pipeline was a quarter-inch in diameter, said Eric Haugstad, Tesoro's director of contingency planning and emergency response.

Tesoro officials were investigating what caused the hole in the 20-year-old, 6-inch-diameter steel underground pipeline line that runs about 35 miles from Tioga to a rail facility outside of Columbus, near the Canadian border. Roberts said the hole may have been caused by corrosion.

Roberts said the farmer who discovered the leak had harvested most of his wheat prior to the spill. The wheat is being tested for contamination at a local grain elevator, he said.

I'll update this post as the story develops.

IMAGE: Video shows every oil pipeline spill in US since 1986

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