Environmental Releases & Investigations

Spill Reporting
Any spill or discharge of liquid or solid (not gaseous) waste which may cause pollution of waters of the state must be reported immediately (
NDAC 33-16-02.1-11 paragraph 4, bottom of page 22). The owner, operator, or person responsible for a spill or discharge must notify the department as soon as possible (1.701.328.5210) or the North Dakota hazardous materials emergency assistance and spill reporting number (1.800.472.2121) and provide all relevant information about the spill. Depending on the severity of the spill or accidental discharge, the department may require the owner or operator to:

  • Take immediate remedial measures;

  • Determine the extent of pollution to waters of the state;

  • Provide alternate water sources to water users impacted by the spill or accidental discharge; or

  • Any other actions necessary to protect human health and the environment.

Non-emergency releases may be reported by filling out the online Environmental Incident Report Form.

Reportable Quantities
Specific minimum quantities for mandatory reporting of spills have not been established.  All spills which may potentially impact waters of the state, either surface water or groundwater, must be reported.  This includes all substances, not just "hazardous materials."  Recent examples that a person may not normally think of as having a  potential impact to water, include "non toxic" substances such as molasses or salt.  These may not be immediately harmful to human health, but they may impact aquatic life or soil fertility. 

Emergency Response
Some releases may require immediate response by trained emergency personnel.  This will be coordinated through the Department of Health, Division of Emergency Management and any other state or local emergency response agencies that may be needed.  If there is any question as to proper response call the Department of Health at (1.701.328.5210) or the North Dakota hazardous materials emergency assistance and spill reporting number (1.800.472.2121) and provide all relevant information about the incident. 

Environmental Investigation and Clean Up
Some releases may require additional investigation beyond initial clean up to determine full impacts to the environment.  This may include soil borings and samples, monitoring wells and groundwater samples, etc. 

Investigations of Contaminant Release Sites  (11/2006 pdf format)

Environmental Site Investigation Report  (11/2006 pdf format)

Click Here for additional guidelines that may relate to environmental investigations.  These are found on the Division of Waste Management web site.

Clean Up Standards
Action levels have been set for petroleum compounds and drinking water maximum contaminant levels may also be used as action levels.  Final standards for cleanup are determined on a case-by-case basis, depending on the contaminant involved and potential for risk to human health and the environment. 

Cleanup Action Levels for Gasoline and Other Petroleum Hydrocarbons  (12/2006 pdf)

Property Transfer Assessments
If any type of soil or water contamination is found during a property transfer assessment, or in the course of any other activity, that contamination must be reported to the Department of Health.  The fact that it may have been a previously unknown, or historic release does not eliminate the reporting requirements. 


Last Updated: 01/26/2015