Pipeline leak troublesome

Source of spill still being sought

A yellow collection boom designed to contain a spill of diesel fuel lies on the water of a dead loop of the Souris River. The fuel leak was first noticed about noon Tuesday in the area where the county’s new jail in being constructed. Kim Fundingsland/MDN

Any leak of diesel fuel is not good but at least the spill discovered in Minot Tuesday didn’t appear to be significant. However, as of late Wednesday, the exact source of the spill was still being sought.

The City of Minot notified Ward County on Tuesday of diesel fuel that had entered a storm water drain at the northeast corner of the new jail construction area. Although the amount of diesel fuel involved in the spill is not believed to be a very large, there was a slight sheen on the water where the storm drain empties into a dead loop of the Souris River immediately north of the Minot Daily News.

The source of the diesel fuel is believed to be a leak in a small pipeline that runs from an underground storage tank near the old Ward County Jail to the new county office building. The pipeline delivers diesel fuel to a back-up generator at the new county office building. The tank supplying the diesel was installed near the old jail in 1984.

“The leak could be anywhere. We won’t know where until they find it,” said Leona Lochthowe, facility management supervisor.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday workers had dug 14 holes along the path of the pipeline in hope of pinpointing the leak. They were not successful.

“We’ll find out how much diesel leaked once we get a soil sample where the ground is saturated,” explained Lochthowe.

Valves on the pipeline were closed as soon as the leak was discovered. According to Lochthowe, any contaminated soil discovered during the search for the leak will be removed.

The First District Health Unit, North Dakota Department of Health and the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services were all notified of the situation.