More than 700,000 gallons of oil wastewater spilled in Grant County

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As much as 750-thousand gallons of oil wastewater spilled in near Medford.

NewsChannel 4 spoke with people living in Grant County who said they are going to start using bottled water until it's cleared up,  fearful of a massive oil wastewater spill.

"The salt water will ruin our water, our agriculture in this area,"  a Grant County resident said.

Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said as of right now, water has not been affected. The commission was notified by Special Energy they had a spill of "what we euphemistically call saltwater," Skinner said.

Skinner is referring to wastewater from oil production. They have no idea when the leak began.

"We really don't know but based on the metering that tracks lost production, there's 15-18 thousand barrels of production that cannot be accounted for," Skinner said.

With 42 gallons to a barrel, the Corporation Commission is talking about over seven hundred thousand gallons of wastewater.

"This waters was thousands of times saltier than the ocean, and it will kill, if it spilled in enough concentrated form, it will kill vegetation," Skinner said.

The leak began through an underground pipe. A new type of technology that takes in water from multiple wells as opposed to just one, a possible reason for a large amount of the spill.

"The water was being transported in a pipeline, and the valve that was underground apparently sprung a leak," he said.

The commission does not monitor underground lines.

"It is self-monitored; we have a catch-all rule that says the operator can't do anything that may cause pollution," Skinner said.

The good news is the Corporation Commission claims the water has not been affected.

"Thus far, fortunately, we have not, we don't have an evidence of an impact on drinking water," Skinner said.

"We don't want to affect things on down the road, that's all we have, our water supply," Bobby Smith of Grant County said.

The Special Energy Corporation from Stillwater did not respond to requests for comment.

Both the state Department of Environmental Quality and the Wildlife Department are monitoring the spill.  There has been no damage to fish or wildlife so far.



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