Update on ExxonMobil Pipeline Oil Spill in Montana
BILLINGS– ExxonMobil Pipeline Company has provided and update as cleanup operations continued Monday following an oil spill into the Yellowstone River.
Over 280 people are involved in the cleanup effort. More than 150 people cleaned up oil along the river banks today.
A unified command has been established to manage activities, including recovering oil, monitoring air and water quality, and addressing resident’s questions. ExxonMobil is coordinating the response with the EPA, the Montana Department of Environmental Quality, USDoT Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services, and Yellowstone County commissioners.
For response purposes, the area downriver of the spill has been organized into four zones. Cleanup activities are focused in the first two zones, Laurel to Duck Creek Bridge, a distance of seven miles from the spill location, and Duck Creek Bridge to Johnson Lane (12 miles). Reconnaissance and evaluation is ongoing in the second two zones, Johnson Lane to Miles City (144 miles) and Miles City to Glendive (78 miles).
Active clean up continues in the first two zones closest to the spill site. Absorbent and containment boom and pads are on site and being used to clean up oil adjacent to the river. Vacuum trucks and tankers have also been deployed to pick up and dispose of the oil.
Daily aerial flights over the river are being undertaken to identify additional oil locations and monitor and direct cleanup activity. Once flooding and river currents subside, boats staged at Coulson Park will be deployed for river monitoring.
An ongoing monitor on air quality confirms no danger to public health. The EPA has conducted water quality sampling and will publicize those findings when they receive the results. Municipal water systems are being notified to watch water quality but no reports of impacts have been received to date.
Workers from the International Bird Rescue have arrived in Billings. The Montana Audubon Conservation Education Center and Yellowstone Valley Audubon have offered to provide wildlife recovery services and facilities. No reports of impacted wildlife have surfaced, but the area continues to be monitored.
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