The fossil fuels boom in North Dakota has meant jobs and one of the country’s better economies. It’s also meant a strain on the state’s resources and infrastructure, as we noted last month. One we left off our list: sewage.
Two firms were cited on Friday for dumping more than 100 loads of raw sewage in “fields and ditches” between late 2011 and early this year. The waste originated at drilling locations and worker camps in the Bakken oil patch.
In all, the loads added up to more than 500,000 gallons — enough to fill three-quarters of an Olympic-sized pool. (London 2012!)
Two firms were cited, Mon-Dak Water and Septic Services and Hurley Oilfield Services. Hurley’s response wasn’t, oh, you caught us, but rather, was that wrong?
Dave Gorham, a consultant with Hurley Oilfield Services, said he’s working with the department to find a way to resolve the situation with the company. Gorham said he couldn’t speak to specific instances listed in the official complaints.
“There’s going to be some human error. (But) my understanding is the state has always allowed field application,” Gorham said.
The North Dakota Department of Health issued a nine-page citation to the two companies involved, which suggests that fines could be assessed at $5,000 per day. We recommend that you not read the citation during lunch; it includes phrases like, “The complainant noted that the septage contained shredded paper.” If you want a more sanitized version of the story, here’s the NBC affiliate in Bismarck.
To be completely honest with you, this story overwhelmed our ability to make jokes. Choice overload, we suppose. You’re welcome to make your own in the comments. We’ll just note that we’re pleased the oil industry is diversifying the ways in which it pollutes. Shows innovation.