Billings, Montana – All residual oil has been removed at the site of a break in an ExxonMobil pipeline in Montana, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The pipeline broke on July 1, 2011 and resulted in a spill of approximately 1,000 barrels of crude oil into the Yellowstone River.
The EPA has reported that the threat of secondary releases from the ruptured portion of the pipeline has been eliminated, and that all residual oil and oily water mixture has been removed from the two segments of pipeline on either side of the break location. The EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts are carried out, and is continuing to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline responsible and accountable for assessment and cleanup.
The river levels have continued to drop, giving assessment and cleanup teams more access to vegetation and shoreline, and at this point approximately 47 miles (75 km) of shoreline have been assessed along the river. The EPA reports “light to moderate oil coverage” on most shoreline and island vegetation, along with large, more heavily-oiled flood debris piles at various locations along the shoreline and on the islands.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reported that 19 oiled animals have been seen but not yet captured, including a bald eagle, and that ten dead animals have been collected for analysis. Five animals have been captured for cleaning and care.