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EPA to inspect oil spill

By Lauren Donovan

The federal Environmental Protection Agency will inspect the site of an oil spill into the Missouri and Yellowstone river confluence area near Williston today.

The Denver-based EPA onsite emergency response coordinator will look at how the 33-barrel spill, equivalent to 1,400 gallons, has affected the waters and possibly land owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and nearby wildlife management areas.

Kris Roberts, environmental geologist for the state Health Department, said he isn’t sure of the inspection’s scope, but said he and the EPA representative will meet with the cleanup crew and look at any residual impact from the spill.

The oil spill was reported March 14 when rising water caused by ice jams flooded at least 16 oil wells in the confluence lowlands.

An unanchored oil storage tank owned by Colorado-based Zavanna LLC broke open and oil flowed out of a breach in the protective dike around the well.

The oil was mostly trapped in containment booms, but some coated brush and grass, Roberts said.

Roberts said EPA inspections are most often triggered when oil spills into waters owned by the United States, in this case Lake Sakakawea and its tributary rivers.

He said he’ll learn more about the EPA’s concerns during the inspection.

Reach reporter Lauren Donovan at 701-220-5511 or lauren@westriv.com.

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