Living in an Oil Town

Signs of the oil boom are everywhere you look in Williston. Literally. Here are some of the signs I’ve been seeing:

There are “No Camping” notices at the parks and “No Overnight Parking” signs at Walmart to try and prevent people from sleeping in cars or tents around town (though according to one source, there aren’t enough police around to enforce any of this).

There are “No Camping” notices at the parks and “No Overnight Parking” signs at Walmart to try and prevent people from sleeping in cars or tents around town (though according to one source, there aren’t enough police around to enforce this).

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 “No Oilfield or Muddy Clothing in this Machine!” signs at the laundry mat.

At the laundry mat.

A “Rotary Rig guide” is posted on the wall at the local library.

A “Rotary Rig guide” is posted on the wall at the local library.

An oil rig teeter totter at the playground.

An oil rig teeter totter at the playground.

Flyers at the coffee shop to “winterize your RV.”

Flyers at the coffee shop to “winterize your RV.”

Yesterday, my cousin and I drove an hour and 45 minutes to meet with a farming couple, and I counted 64 oil rigs on our drive. In nearby Stanley, ND, which is much smaller than Williston, we saw signs for “oil wrestling” at a local bar (obviously I need to go for research), and a notice at City Hall that Stanley’s sewage system is overwhelmed by the boom, and residents with sump pumps must discharge the water outside, not into the sewage system. Sump pump grey water is something you probably don’t want in your backyard.

It’s hard to imagine what this area looked like before the boom.

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One thought on “Living in an Oil Town

  1. I haven’t spent much time in western North Dakota, but on my last visit (pre Boom) it had the feel of a ranching community, with a bit for the tourists around Theodore Roosevelt National Park. That’s a great place to see, if you can. The buffalo really do roam there. And rattlesnakes, coyotes, sheep, etc. You can take a trail ride into the area to get a feel how North Dakota seemed before it was an oil and gas center.

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