Major oil spill contaminates MT city water supply; cleanup efforts underway

On Saturday, Jan. 17, a major crude oil spill occurred along the Yellowstone River near the city of Glendive, Mont., contaminating a critical water supply that serves around 6,000 residents in the area.

Jan. 21, 2015 -- On Saturday, Jan. 17, a major crude oil spill occurred along the Yellowstone River near the city of Glendive, Mont., contaminating a critical water supply that serves around 6,000 residents in the area.

Authorities estimate that upwards of 50,000 gallons, or 1,200 barrels, of oil were discharged into the river last weekend and indicate that high levels of benzene, a cancer-causing agent, were detected in water samples taken from a local water treatment plant.

The spill was caused by a rupture to Bridger Pipeline LLC’s 12-inch Poplar line, a leading pipeline that carries up to 42,000 barrels per day of crude oil to and from Canada and Bakken producers in eastern Montana and North Dakota.

On Monday, Jan. 19, Montana Governor Steve Bullock declared a state of emergency for Dawson and Richland counties, which were both affected by the incident.

City officials have advised residents to use bottled water for cooking and bathing until further testing confirms the water supply is safe for consumption. Likewise, Glendive has called in truckloads of fresh drinking water to distribute throughout the community.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has collaborated with Bridger, the Environmental Protection Agency, Dawson County, and local emergency and public health services, among others, to issue an emergency command structure for cleanup and prevention efforts.

See also:

"West Virginia chemical spill shuts down capital city, water supplies"

"Duke Energy NC coal ash spill signifies third largest in U.S. history"

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