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Lightning is the likely cause of a fire at a saltwater disposal site in McKenzie County.....

     ALEXANDER, N.D. (AP) - Lightning is the likely cause of a fire at a saltwater disposal site in McKenzie County.  It happened late Monday afternoon south of Alexander at an operation owned by 1804 Operating.
     Company president Fred Kershisnik told The Associated Press they're trying to confirm the cause but suspects lightning. The county emergency manager and health department inspector were on the scene and agreed with that initial assessment.  Fires were still burning at mid-evening. Oil and saltwater were spilled on the ground, but it wasn't clear how much.
     Saltwater is a natural byproduct of oil production. It's considered an environmental hazard and needs to be disposed of in special facilities.  In June alone, two of the state's more than 440 active saltwater disposal sites were destroyed by fires triggered by lightning strikes.

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - North Dakota's Department of Mineral Resources says a saltwater disposal well has released 300 barrels of saltwater in McKenzie County.
     The Department of Mineral Resources announced the spill in a statement Monday. They say the release was likely caused by a pipe failure and occurred 20 miles northeast of Watford City. The statement adds that the spilled liquid was contained and recovered.  Belfield, North Dakota-based Missouri Basin Well Service, Inc. reported the spill to the state on Sunday.
     Saltwater is also called brine. It is a naturally occurring byproduct of oil production and is between 10 and 30 times saltier than sea water. It is considered an environmental hazard by the state and is disposed of in specially designated wells.


     MINOT, N.D. (AP) - Minot's police department is planning to scramble its radio broadcasts by the end of the year.  Members of the public currently can listen in to police radio on scanners. Members of the media often use them to keep tabs on possible news stories.
     Capt. John Klug tells the Minot Daily News that there are numerous reasons for cutting off public access to police communications. They include the possibility of criminals using the information to avoid capture, and the possible public release of personal information such as names and addresses of people with whom officers speak.

     DICKINSON, N.D. (AP) - A Dickinson-based judge has approved a prosecutor's request to dismiss charges in the case of a former high school principal accused of setting fire to his school in March. Prosecutors charged Sander, 30, with arson and endangering by fire. They said he started a fire that destroyed Trinity High School on March 3 and endangered the life of a teacher who lived in an apartment at the school. Sander pleaded not guilty. Prosecuting attorney Tom Henning filed the motion to dismiss Thursday.

     WILLISTON, N.D. (AP) - The Williams County Sheriff's Office says an Oregon man was accidently killed lighting fireworks over the Fourth of July weekend. The body of 35-year-old Michael Cottrell was found early Saturday in the field where he was lighting off fireworks. Cottrel was dead when emergency workers arrived on scene. Cottrel was struck in the face by a firework he was lighting.


     BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Volunteers are being recruited to help make repairs to Lawrence Welk's boyhood home in southern North Dakota.  The three-day effort begins on Aug. 1 near Strasburg.
     The state Historical Society voted in January to buy the homestead from Welk's nieces. The purchase agreement was contingent on negotiated repairs being made to the property, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
     The Legislature last year included $100,000 in the Historical Society's budget for the purchase but lawmakers stipulated that repairs must first be made.


   (Copyright 2014 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


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