April 15, 2011

Flirting with disaster

Flirting with disaster
Oil spill serves as wake-up call – or does it?

A recent oil and contaminated water spill on Lake Sakakawea is a wake up call.
That’s how District 4 Rep. Kenton Onstad, D-Parshall describes it.
The spill was from a 3-inch pipeline that ruptured when an embankment gave way. The leak took place north of Charlton, which is northwest of New Town.
The mixture of oil and saltwater ran into a creek that contained snowmelt. The creek flowed into Lake Sakakawea. One-hundred barrels, or 4,200 gallons of potentially toxic salt water, and five barrels (approximately 200 gallons) of oil spilled into the lake when the line ruptured.
Onstad said this is just the latest in a string of mishaps regarding oil activity in the northwest part of the state. He thinks a preparedness plan is long overdue.
“We have been having salt water spills all over,” Onstad exclaimed. “Leaks on well sites, fires, explosions,  tanker roll overs … how much of a notice do you need?
Onstad said when he first heard of the spill he cringed.
When I heard of it (salt water spill), the first thing I thought of, ‘You have been flirting with disaster and now it finally caught up with us’,” he said. 
Onstad said an oil-related disaster could have devastating effects.
“Any damage to Lake Sakakawea will have detrimental results,” he said. “Not only for our fishing industry, tourism, but the many communities that get their drinking water from the lake. And don’t forget the down stream states.”

The Weather Network