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Yellowstone oil spill now estimated at 40,000 gallons

The amount of oil spilled into the Yellowstone River from a broken pipeline is now estimated at 40,320 gallons, Montana officials reported.

Pipeline owner Bridger Pipeline LLC was able to retrieve 240 barrels of the crude oil from the broken 12-inch pipeline located 6 miles upstream from Glendive. The pipeline broke beneath the Yellowstone River on Saturday.

Dawson County, where the spill is located, and Richland County downstream were declared a disaster area Monday by Gov. Steve Bullock. The state is seeking additional federal aid with the cleanup.

Ice capping the river has made recovery extremely difficult, according to Tom Livers, state Department of Environmental Quality deputy director. Neither the break, nor the oil leaking into the river has been visible from the surface.

Related: Montana city tries to fix water system tainted by oil spill

Bridger Pipeline earlier estimated the oil spill at 12,600 to 50,000 gallons, based on the 900-barrel capacity of the section of broken pipe plus the 300 barrels known to have leaked from the pipeline before emergency valves on either side of the river closed.

Volatile organic compounds in the oil have contaminated the Glendive water supply, which serves 6,000 residents.

Government agencies are working to decontaminate the Glendive water plant, which has been offline for two days. DEQ said Tuesday that workers hoped the water treatment plant, which draws water from the Yellowstone, would be operational again Thursday.

More than 16,000 gallons of bottled drinking water have been trucked to Glendive. The public can pick up the water at the Eastern Plains Event Center, 313 S. Merrill Ave.

Bridger Pipeline staff is at the Dawson County Courthouse in Glendive to answer community questions about the oil spill. The Montana governor’s office also has someone at the courthouse to answer questions between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

 

This article was written by Tom Lutey from Billings Gazette, Mont. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.