BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A state commission has approved a decision to confiscate and sell equipment from a shuttered saltwater disposal well that was illegally operated in the western part of North Dakota.
The North Dakota Industrial Commission voted Thursday to sell the equipment at the Halek 5-22 well located west of Dickinson, the Bismarck Tribune reported .
Well operators Jason Halek and Nathan Garber were recently sentenced in federal court for violating environmental laws when operating the well in 2011 and 2012.
Halek and Garber are also scheduled for a restitution hearing in February. Court records show restitution is estimated to be $115,000.
Director of Mineral Resources Lynn Helms said the equipment is estimated to be worth $100,000 to $150,000. Helms said the state should break even on plugging and reclaiming the well, selling the equipment and confiscating a $20,000 bond.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency launched an investigation with state regulators into the environmental violations with the well, which threatened to endanger drinking water sources.
State regulators are waiting for more information from the agency’s investigation of the site before plugging and reclaiming the well.
Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com
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