Petroleum spills from pipelines, trains, trucks, storage tanks, and other sources have damaged natural resources throughout Minnesota.
Large oil spills sometimes occur during drilling, transport, and use. But most oil contamination comes from small spills and improper disposal in a variety of places. Facilities that use or process petroleum products sometime have small, chronic spills that add up over time.
Human health and environmental concerns
Petroleum contains benzene and heavy metals, including arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, and selenium, which present risks to human health and the environment. Drinking water containing petroleum hydrocarbons can cause an upset stomach, stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Monitoring, reporting, and regulations
Around 20,000 sites in Minnesota are contaminated with petroleum.
Petroleum-contaminated soil may make a site unfit for development and unhealthy for organisms living in and around it. Removing or treating contaminated soil may be necessary to prevent the pollution from reaching groundwater.