BISMARCK — The North Dakota Department of Environmental Quality has recently reported two produced water spills in McKenzie County, the heart of the state's Oil Patch.

Produced water, or brine, is a mixture of saltwater, oil and sometimes, drilling fluids, that is created during oil and gas production.

The department announced last week that nearly 25,000 gallons of brine spilled at a saltwater disposal well three miles south of Alexander due to a cold-weather equipment failure. Bakken Disposal LLC reported that all of the spilled brine was recovered on site.

In a similar incident, the department reported on Monday, March 1, that 42,000 gallons of brine spilled at an injection well about six miles southwest of Alexander. Colorado-based Samson Oil and Gas USA said a cracked frozen pre-filter pot was to blame for the spill, which occurred last week. The discharge impacted rangeland, which often takes years to rehabilitate for agriculture use after a spill.

Department officials will continue inspecting the site and monitoring remediation efforts, according to a news release.