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A source water spill in Williams County has affected agricultural land at a site about 8 miles southeast of Ray.

About 377 barrels were released in the spill on March 24 from a groundwater well being run by Hess Corporation. The cause was a damaged gasket.

Source water is generally used on older wells for enhanced oil recovery, according to the state’s Spill Investigation Program Manager Bill Suess. It is not generally as salty as produced water.

“They pull the water from the Dakota formation, which is also where they are injecting produced water,” Suess said. “It tends to come up and be a little higher in chlorides, but it is probably still under 1,000 ppm. It’s usually in the 600 to 700 ppm range.”

The water is generally sent by pipeline to its destination, and then injected into an older well to try to rejuvenate the well and get oil to flow out better.

“This leak occurred right at the pump house (for the groundwater well),”Suess said. “The pump house itself has a concrete floor, but unfortunately it ran out of the pump house and off the pad.”

Katie Haarsager, spokeswoman for the Division of Oil and Gas confirmed that extraction facilities for source water are not among facilities that require a berm or dike around them.

Suess said samples have been sent to the lab to determine the extent to which agricultural land has been affected. They have also taken water samples from nearby ponds to determine if there has been any effect on those.

Suess did not think fines likely in this case.

“It doesn’t look like this got into any waters of the state,” he said. “Generally there are only fines if it is impacting water.”

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