Researchers Report Toxins from Dakota Oil Field Wastewater Spills

A worker builds up a berm against a saltwater spill from an underground pipeline on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation near Mandaree, N.D. Source: AP Photo/Tyler Bell

Researchers reported toxins exceeding federal water quality standards in waterways and soils from oil development in North Dakota.

Scientists from Duke University say they found high levels of ammonium, lead, and other toxins in waters affected by recent wastewater spills in the Bakken oil field region. Soils at the site were also found to have traces of radium, which forms naturally with underground oil and gas deposits.

Although scientists say the monitoring of the water is necessary to determine if the water is safe or poses a threat, the North Dakota environmental health chief Dave Glatt reported that most wastewater spills are cleaned quickly and do not pose serious harm.

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