By Associated Press - Friday, January 24, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - A massive 1984 diesel spill in Mandan, North Dakota, has finally been cleaned up.

State officials said the cleanup at a rail yard in downtown Mandan was complicated because of limited access to the affected area, the Bismarck Tribune reported.

Workers collected about 770,000 gallons of fuel over the years, said Dave Glatt, director of the North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality.

“It’s pretty much gone,” Glatt said at a Wednesday meeting. “It seems like a long time, but when you look at, in a downtown area where access is limited, we had 4 to 6 feet on top of the groundwater in some areas. This is a success.”

Burlington Northern ran the rail yard when the spill was found in 1984, but BNSF Railway runs it now.

The diesel under the city stemmed from fueling activities at the rail yard as hoses broke and tanks overfilled, said Fritz Schwindt, a former state environmental official and member of the Mandan Remediation Trust, which oversees the cleanup.

The Tribune previously reported that the state initially estimated that 200,000 gallons had spilled, but Glatt said the actual volume is unknown to this day and is likely at least five times that amount.

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