Though the spill occurred on September 29, the U.S. National Response Center - tasked with responding to chemical and oil spills - did not make the report available until October 8 due to the ongoing government shutdown.
“The center generally makes such reports available on its website within 24 hours of their filing, but services were interrupted last week because of the U.S. government shutdown,” explained Reuters.
The “Incident Summaries” portion of the National Response Center's website is currently down, and the homepage notes, “Due to [the] government shutdown, some services may not be available.”
At more than 20,600 barrels - equivalent to 865,200 gallons - the spill was bigger than the April 2013 ExxonMobil Pegasus pipeline spill, which spewed 5,000-7,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen into a residential neighborhood in Mayflower, Arkansas.
So far, only 1,285 barrels have been recovered in North Dakota, and the oil is spread out over a 7.3 acre land mass.
Kris Roberts, environmental geologist for the North Dakota Department of Health Division of Water Quality told the Williston Herald, “the leak was caused by a hole that deteriorated in the side of the pipe.”
“No water, surface water or ground water was impacted,” he said. “They installed monitoring wells to ensure there is no impact now or that there is going to be one.”