Saturday, February 03, 2007

Oil Waste water used as de-icer is under fire from out of staters

BISMARCK, N.D. - For about 40 years, state workers have been dumping saltwater left over from oil production on some North Dakota roads. That's news to the health department, which wants the practice stopped.
The Transportation Department claims oil well wastewater — up to 10 times saltier than sea water — is a safe, effective and cheap de-icer.
Environmentalists are stunned that workers have been dumping tens of thousands of gallons of the potentially contaminated stuff on roads every year, causing unknown harm to wetlands, streams and water supplies.
"I can't imagine anybody would sign off on this," said Wayde Schafer, a North Dakota spokesman for the
Sierra Club'


"When it leaves the well site and is in an oil company truck it's considered toxic material," Schafer said. "If they have just one drip from the truck, they're fined. But when it's transferred to a state truck, it's spread wholesale along the interstate. It definitely makes one wonder."
Transportation spokeswoman Peggy Anderson said the state Health Department had approved the use of the salty wastewater for de-icing. But the health department's water quality director, Dennis Fewless, said he hadn't even heard about the practice until asked about it this week by The Associated Press.
"In our opinion, we did not give them our blessing on this practice," Fewless said Friday.
Fewless said the wastewater pulled from oil wells may contain oil and chemicals from drilling operations.
"The bottom line is, we need to look to the future and look for better options and phase this process out," Fewless said.
Transportation Department officials say they have not seen any ill effects caused by the saltwater, such as dead vegetation along highways or rustier-than-normal vehicles.
Transportation engineer Brad Darr said the saltwater has been used on state roads in the Dickinson area of southwestern North Dakota since the late 1960s, and that the practice has expanded to some other parts of the state in the last decade.
Darr said the Transportation Department had no exact figure, but uses "tens of thousands of gallons" of the saltwater each year, at no charge from the oil companies — who otherwise would have to pay someone to haul it off.
"They can have all they want," said Dave Wanner, a manager at Missouri Basin Well Service in Belfield.
Schafer, of the Sierra Club, said his group has found no other states that use oil well saltwater for deicing.
Wanner said the saltwater may contain traces of oil residue with a "little tiny film to it," but that it is not dangerous to the environment if applied sparingly.
A year ago, a saltwater disposal pipeline owned by Zenergy Inc. of Tulsa, Okla., ruptured, spilling nearly 1 million gallons of salty water in northwestern North Dakota. Fewless said it could take years to clean up the spill, which killed creek life and forced ranchers to move their cattle.


When we get global warming like al gore keeps promising then we won't have to worry about -21 F weather like we are having today. In North Dakota we can't rely on the De-icer that Texas or Oklahoma use because of the temp. The creek life? What are they complaining about other algae. Any "creeks" in North Dakota doesn't keep water year round because they dry up year round. Something else how does this schmuck know that the ranchers didn't move the cattle due to the drought we've had in the state over the last couple of years? Ranchers move cattle to winter and spring ranges so as not to over stress the range.

The thought that it's stupid if the saltwater is spilled from the oil field trucks is correct, but that's what happens with treehuggers pushing their agenda on this state.

It would be great if those stupid city slickers would leave us alone. Our state is in a lot better shape than any of those states east of the Mississippi and west of the Rockies.



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