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POWERS LAKE, N.D. (AP) — A state Department of Health official says about 63,000 gallons of saltwater have leaked from a pipeline in northwest North Dakota and that some has reached a lake via a tributary.
Water Quality Director Karl Rockeman said Wednesday that it's unclear how much of the saltwater has entered Smishek Lake near the town of Powers Lake, which is about 75 miles northeast of Williston. He says the lake does not supply area drinking water.
Saltwater, or brine, is an unwanted byproduct of oil production and is considered an environmental hazard by the state. It is many times saltier than sea water and can easily kill vegetation.
Rockeman says he considers the 1,500-barrel leak "significant."
Oasis Petroleum owns and operates the pipeline. The state learned of the spill on Monday.