MANDAREE, N.D. -- Around 1 million gallons of saltwater has leaked from a North Dakota pipeline, some of it into a bay that leads to a lake that provides drinking water for an American Indian reservation. Three Affiliated Tribes Chairman Tex Hall told The Associated Press on Wednesday that an underground pipeline near Mandaree leaked about 24,000 barrels, or just over 1 million gallons, of saltwater near Bear Den Bay, a tributary of Lake Sakakawea. The Missouri River reservoir provides water to communities on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation, occupied by the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara tribes in the heart of western North Dakota's booming oil patch.
The underground pipeline is owned by Aero Pipeline LCC, which is a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream Partners. Saltwater, an unwanted byproduct of oil and natural gas production that is between 10 and 30 times saltier than seawater, is considered an environmental hazard by the state. Tribal and company officials said the leak has been isolated and drinking water is unaffected.