Oil and Gas development - like many industries - has the potential for an incident to occur. The role of the Oil and Gas Division is to have regulations in place to hold operators accountable for proper prevention, notification, response, and remediation should an incident take place.
Frequently Asked Questions
Remediation is the act of cleanup to reverse or stop environmental damage. North Dakota rules & regulations discuss leak and spill cleanup in North Dakota Administrative Code 43-02-03-30.1 which states that at no time shall any spill or leak be allowed to flow over, pool, or rest on the surface of the land or infiltrate soil. These fluids must be properly removed, and operators and responsible parties must respond with appropriate resources to contain and cleanup spills. (To read more see our Rules and Regulations here)
There are many partners when it comes to spill jurisdiction in North Dakota. The Oil and Gas Division, Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Emergency Services, as well as Tribal and Federal authorities all have some level of oversight and response depending on the location of the spill.
Generally, when a spill stays within the boundaries of the well pad, the jurisdiction falls to the Oil and Gas Division.
If a spill leaves the location of the well pad; jurisdiction is shared with other agencies such as the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.
The Oil and Gas Division will send a member of our field inspection team to the location of an oilfield related incident which may include but is not limited to spills on location, illegal dumping, gathering pipeline incidents, and location fires.
North Dakota Administrative Rule 43-02-03-30.1 indicates that at no time shall any spill or leave be allowed to flow over, pool, or rest on the surface of the land or infiltrate the soil. The Oil and Gas Division requires notification of any fires, leaks, spills, or blowouts per North Dakota Administrative Rule 43-02-03-30. Spills must be verbally reported to Oil and Gas Division staff immediately. Online initial notification forms must be filed within twenty-four hours. The estimated fluid volume loss, location and impacts (if known) determines division response time. Typically a field inspector will visit the location within the first 24-48 hours of the incident being reported. The Division then requires that discharged fluids be properly removed and remediated.
Oilfield related fires typically require response by trained emergency personnel. In these situations, the Oil and Gas Division receives notification and will send a trained field inspector to location to monitor the situation. However, response to health and safety emergencies is generally coordinated through the Department of Health, Division of Emergency Management and any other state or local emergency response agency that may be needed.
The Division requests that Class B firefighting foam ONLY be used if needed to protect human life or critical infrastructure. Class B foam may contain PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances). Use of firefighting foams containing PFAS chemicals is an emerging public health challenge where action is needed to avoid contamination and exposure to people, communities, and the environment. More information can be found on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. Please share this information and resources available on the EPA website with your emergency response teams. Help reduce environmental contamination and risk of public health impacts for your employees, firefighters and nearby residents.
Basic spill information associated with a well is available on the Division’s Scout Ticket page. Spill reports are available in the well file and can be accessed for free in Bismarck or by utilizing our website subscription services.
Public access to spill information from January 1, 2021 and forward is also found on the Unified Spill Reporting Page. Incidents prior to January 1, 2021 are accessible on the Department of Environmental Quality website.