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Region 8

All Updates

Go to the main page | Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Updates:
August 12
August 5
July 28
July 24
July 22
July 21
July 20
July 19
July 18
July 17
July 16
July 15
July 14
July 13
July 12
July 11
July 10
July 7

July 6
July 5
July 4
July 3

 

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), August 12, 2011
Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (303) 548-3967; John Dalton (303) 524-2459

(Billings, Mont --, August 12, 2011) EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil Silvertip Pipeline Spill on the Yellowstone River near Billings, Mont. EPA will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure ExxonMobil Pipeline Company addresses any and all potential impacts of this spill. EPA will continue to direct and oversee the cleanup and restoration of the Yellowstone River and will continue to work to ensure people's health and the environment are protected.

There are over 1,000 personnel engaged in cleanup and shoreline assessment efforts. Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams have assessed more than 6,500 acres. Several segments are ready for review and sign off and are on the schedule to be inspected by SCAT teams once their initial assessments are completed.

“Right now we’re progressing through the work plan, and SCAT teams have made a lot of progress,” said Craig Myers, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “At this point things appear to be happening on schedule.”

EPA sampling results for air, water, soil, and sediment data are still available on the EPA spill website. The data shows there are no levels of concern in the water and no elevated levels above instrument detection for volatile organic compounds. EPA site-specific soil sampling result letters went out to 40 landowners affected by the Yellowstone River oil spill. Results and a fact sheet on the crude oil samples and an Agricultural Fact Sheet are available at the EPA website as well.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill/ for the latest information, data and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), August 5, 2011
Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; John Dalton (303) 524-2459

(Billings, Mont --, August 5, 2011) EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil Silvertip Pipeline Spill on the Yellowstone River. At this point, there are nearly 850 personnel engaged in cleanup and shoreline assessment efforts.

EPA sampling results for air, water, soil and sediment data are now available on the EPA spill website. Results and a fact sheet on the crude oil samples are available as well.

“The data tell us that we have weathered crude in the environment that is readily bio-degradable,” said Steve Merritt, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “The oil is weathering as we expected it would. We remain committed to not do more harm than good as we continue to work our way through the cleanup areas.”

EPA has also posted an Agricultural Fact Sheet at the spill website, which was made in conjunction with local, regional and national experts in an Agricultural Impact Subcommittee. This fact sheet provides guidance to landowners along the impacted sections of the Yellowstone River.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill/ for the latest information, data and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA Update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 28, 2011
Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 28, 2011) EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil Silvertip Pipeline Spill on the Yellowstone River. At this point, there are nearly 900 personnel engaged in cleanup and shoreline assessment efforts. Unified Command has conducted helicopter lift operations to get equipment into areas that were previously inaccessible to cleanup crews and to remove contaminated debris. This has accelerated cleanup efforts and will enable contaminated debris piles to be removed more effectively.

EPA is working with a team of local, regional, and national experts in an Agricultural Impact Subcommittee to develop a fact sheet for agricultural questions that will be made available to the public as soon as it is completed. This fact sheet will provide guidance to landowners on remediation techniques and will serve as a framework to address their concerns.

Sampling data results will be made available as quickly as validated results permit. A decision was made by Unified Command early on to ensure that all the response data associated with this incident be consistent with Montana DEQ methodology and standards. As such, we are using only certified labs in Montana and those businesses have been working diligently to process samples and data packages. When data becomes available it will immediately be posted to the maps section of the EPA website.

“Even though we’re all awaiting final testing results from the samples, this has not impeded our decision making for the cleanup or the speed of our response efforts,” said Steve Merritt, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “Everyone is working diligently to get this data out to the public as soon as possible. Nevertheless, the preliminary results continue to support the conclusions drawn already about surface water, drinking water, and air throughout the area.”

Of greater significance, SCAT teams have surveyed most of Divisions A and B, and will continue working through Division C in the next several days. The SCAT process includes 3 phases: survey and develop cleanup instructions, clean the assessed area, and reassess the area to ensure that the instructions have been followed completely.

The following are data related to the survey phase of Divisions A and B:

  • Division A includes the first 10 river miles downstream of the pipeline break. 561 acres, roughly 79% of the area in this first section, has been surveyed by the SCAT teams. Of those areas surveyed, approximately 39.8% of the shorelines had no oil observed, 7.9% had very light oil impacts, 15.8% had light oil impacts, 33.8% had moderate oil impacts, and 2.7% had heavy oil impacts.

  • Division B includes the next 18 river miles beyond Division A. 1367 acres, roughly 78% of the area, has been surveyed by SCAT teams. Of those areas surveyed, approximately 39.2% of the shorelines had no oil observed, 22.4% had very light oil impacts, 32.4% had light oil impacts, 5.8% had moderate oil impacts, and 0.1% had heavy oil impacts.

These figures reinforce the previous aerial and non-SCAT observations that impacts diminish as the distance from the pipeline break location and that the oil impacts are predominantly associated with the south bank of the river and on islands that were submerged during the flooding within Divisions A and B.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

PLEASE NOTE: The next Media Availability Call will be held on Friday, July 29th at 3:30 p.m. For dial-in information please contact the individuals listed on this press release.

Please visit www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions or stop into the Governor’s Billings office at 424 Morey Street or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 24, 2011

Response Activity Maps have been posted. The maps on this page show two of the three sections of the river corridor where assessment, clean up and monitoring work is happening or planned. This information will be updated as progress is made.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions or stop into the Governor’s Billings office at 424 Morey Street or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 22, 2011
Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 22, 2011) There are no updates regarding the Silvertip Pipeline today.

PLEASE NOTE: The next media call will take place on Wednesday, July 27th at 3:00 MDT. There will be no calls over the weekend. If there are any new developments, we will send out a media advisory. For conference call dial-in information, please contact Wendy Thomi listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 21, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 21, 2011) ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. cleanup crews have completed the initial stage of work on 4 of the 25 originally identified spill sites. These sites were targeted due to large quantities of easily accessed debris and vegetation. To date, crews have completed assessment of over 1200 acres in and along the river corridor.

A heavy lift helicopter (an S-61) was tested in preparation for moving small pieces of equipment, such as bobcats, chippers and small dumpsters to the islands to support upcoming island cleanup efforts.

Today 7 members of the Crow Nation visited the cleanup site and received a tour of site activities and an explanation of Unified Command. The Crow Nation members will be involved in all aspects of the process, including SCAT, consolidated cleanup recommendations, and sign-off. At EPA’s request, ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. will provide health and safety training to the Crow Nation members so they can fully participate in the response.

PLEASE NOTE: After Friday’s media briefing at 3:00, the next media call will take place on Wednesday, July 27th at 3:00 MDT. There will be no calls over the weekend. If there are any new developments, we will send out a media advisory. For conference call dial-in information please contact Wendy Thomi listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions or stop into the Governor’s Billings office at 424 Morey Street or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 20, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 20, 2011) We received the revised workplan from ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. last night at 5pm. EPA, and our state and federal partners will complete our review of revisions and will make a final decision on the workplan by early next week. All cleanup activities are continuing under the direction of the Unified Command.

The Unified Command is testing and evaluating numerous cleanup options. Today, cleanup crews tested a high water pressure device for removing oil from flood debris. This method proved to be ineffective for removing oil and will not likely be used as a clean up technique. Use of in-situ burning to address flood debris piles is not being considered for current operations, although it may still be considered in the future. This is primarily due to technical and logistical constraints specific to the sites currently under review.

PLEASE NOTE: Our daily media briefings continue this week via conference call only, at 3:00pm MDT. For conference call dial-in information, please contact Lisa McClain-Vanderpool listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions or stop into the Governor’s Billings office at 424 Morey Street or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 19, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

Billings, Mont --, July 19, 2011) The river levels continue to drop, giving our assessment and cleanup crews more access to vegetation and shoreline. The crews have assessed approximately 47 river miles of shoreline. We are finding numerous, heavily oiled flood debris piles at various locations along the shoreline and on the islands. Since no two piles are alike, the Unified Command is investigating a variety of options to use for cleaning up these piles. In some cases, it may be necessary to use equipment to remove heavy debris. In other instances, especially on the more sensitive and less easily accessed islands, oiled debris could be covered with a fixative like sand or sawdust, which eliminates the stickiness of the oil and provides a buffer for wildlife. In evaluating clean up techniques, we are carefully considering wildlife and habitat to ensure our remedies do not cause more harm than good.

ExxonMobil has submitted their revised workplan to EPA. We and our federal and state partners will conduct a timely review and will finalize the workplan carefully and promptly. All cleanup activities are continuing under the direction of the Unified Command.

PLEASE NOTE: Our daily media briefings continue this week via conference call only, at 3:00pm MDT. For conference call dial-in information, please contact Lisa McClain-Vanderpool listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions or stop into the Governor’s Billings office at 424 Morey Street or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA update on Yellowstone River oil spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 18, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027, (mcclain-vanderpool.lisa@epa.gov); Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 18, 2011) Over the weekend, EPA, State and federal partners oversaw ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.’s removal of all the residual oil and oily water mixture from the two segments of pipeline on either side of the break location. The threat of secondary releases from the ruptured portion of the pipeline has been eliminated. Going forward, the pipeline break site is under the jurisdiction of DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA).

The river levels continue to drop, giving our Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams and cleanup crews more access to vegetation and shoreline. At this point approximately 47 river miles of shoreline have been assessed. Overall there is light to moderate oil coverage on most shoreline and island vegetation representing 10% or less of oil coverage in a given area. We are also finding large, more heavily oiled flood debris piles at various locations along the shoreline and on the islands. In developing cleanup techniques we are carefully considering wildlife and habitat to ensure our remedies do not cause more harm than good.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has reported that 19 oiled animals have been seen (but not yet captured), including a bald eagle, and 10 dead animals that have been collected for analysis. Five animals have been captured for cleaning and care. For more information, please contact Leith Edgar, USFWS, 303-236-4580.

ExxonMobil has received a substantial number of comments from EPA, Montana state agencies and other stakeholders on their draft work plan. They will revise the draft based on these comments and submit it to EPA for approval by tomorrow evening.

PLEASE NOTE: Our daily media briefings occur now via conference call only, at 3:00 p.m. MDT. For conference call dial-in information, please contact Lisa McClain-Vanderpool listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 17, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027; Wendy Thomi, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 17, 2011) The U.S. EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil spill on the Yellowstone River. This weekend, EPA, DOT and Montana Department of Environmental Quality and Disaster and Emergency Services Division representatives oversaw ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.’s removal of the remaining oily water mixture from two segments of pipeline on either side of the break location. The draining of these two segments was completed with no releases of oil into the environment. Going forward, the pipeline break site is under the jurisdiction of DOT’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) since the threat of release has been mitigated with this removal.

Today, the south segment of the pipeline was drained. Approximately 80 barrels of crude oil were estimated to have been removed from the south segment. The balance of the 250 barrels removed in total from the south segment constituted a mixture of oily water and was trucked back to ExxonMobil Billings Refinery for storage. Yesterday the north segment of the pipeline was drained of approximately 8,400 gallons (200 barrels) of oily water. “With the removal of the residual oil from these segments of the pipeline, the threat of secondary releases has been eliminated,” said Steve Merritt, EPA’s on scene coordinator.

There are now over 700 personnel involved in the cleanup of the spill site, with over 600 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. About 13% of these personnel are local hires.

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning Monday, July 18th, our daily media briefings will occur via conference call only, at 3:00 p.m. MDT. For conference call dial-in information, please contact the people listed above. We will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration as it becomes available on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill.

BACKGROUND: At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.


EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 16, 2011
Lisa McClain-Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 16, 2011) The U.S. EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil spill on the Yellowstone River. This weekend, EPA and DOT partners are overseeing Exxon’s removal of any residual oil from two segments of pipeline on either side of the break location. EPA and the state have reviewed and approved these procedures to ensure that there are no further releases of oil into the environment as a result of these activities.

Today the north segment of the pipeline was drained of approximately 8400 gallons (200 barrels) of oily water without any releases to the environment and was trucked back to ExxonMobil Billings Refinery for storage while samples are being analyzed. Sunday, the south segment of the pipeline will be vacuumed and we anticipate there will be a higher volume of residual oil in that segment due to the way fluids travelled through the pipeline during the spill. Approved procedures are in place to ensure that residual oil and water are properly and safely removed.

Sunday, the south segment of the pipeline will be vacuumed and we anticipate there will be a higher volume of residual oil in that segment due to the way fluids travelled through the pipeline during the spill. Approved procedures are in place to ensure that residual oil and water are properly and safely removed.

There are over 700 personnel on site with over 500 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. About 13% of these personnel are local hires. There are over 50 boats on scene as well.

PLEASE NOTE: Beginning Monday, July 18th, our daily media briefings will occur via conference call only, at 3:00pm MDT. There is no call on Sunday, July 17th. There will be no press releases this weekend but we will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill. For conference call dial-in information, please contact the people listed above.

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co. that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 15, 2011
Lisa McClain Vanderpool, (303) 501-4027; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 15, 2011) The U.S. EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil spill on the Yellowstone River. This weekend, EPA will provide direction and oversight as Exxon removes any residual oil from two segments of pipeline on either side of the break location. EPA and the state have reviewed and approved procedures to ensure that there are no further releases of oil into the environment as a result of these activities.

PLEASE NOTE: On Saturday July 16th our daily media briefing will occur via conference call, and not in person, and we will not issue any press releases over the weekend. There is no call on Sunday, July 17th. However, we will continue to post the latest information including monitoring data and progress on clean-up and restoration on our website, epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill. During the week of July 18th we will hold daily media briefings via conference call at 11 a.m. and will continue to answer additional media questions via email or phone as they occur. For conference call dial-in information, please contact the people listed above.

There are 750 personnel on site with 540 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. Cleanup crews have used over 50,000 feet of absorbent booms and 260,000 absorbent pads, among other materials. There are 56 boats on scene as well.

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Press inquiries: press@epa.gov

Please visit http://www.epa.gov/yellowstoneriverspill for the latest information, data, and maps.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 14, 2011
Shoreline teams move downriver, cleanup and sampling continue
Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014

(Billings, Mont --, July 14, 2011) The U.S. EPA continues to oversee the response to the ExxonMobil spill on the Yellowstone River. Today, Shoreline Cleanup & Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams continue to carefully assess and clean up the most heavily affected areas of the spill and comb the riverbanks. A total of seven SCAT teams are now working along the shores of the Yellowstone River.

“We’re focusing our efforts on vegetation and shoreline cleanup,” said Steve Merritt, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “Our SCAT teams are evaluating every section of accessible shoreline to direct cleanup operations and make sure we don’t do more harm than good in these actions.”

Cleanup methods will vary depending on how much oil is present at a location, and SCAT teams will work to ensure a proper balance between cleanup and minimizing further impacts to ecosystems. To better allocate ground resources, the affected areas of the river have been further subdivided. Zones A and B remain the same. Zone C now ends at Yellowstone County line instead of Miles City. Zones D through H correspond with county lines moving east to Glendive, MT.

There are 750 personnel on site with 540 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. Cleanup crews have used over 36,000 feet of absorbent booms and 260,000 absorbent pads, among other materials.. There are 54 boats on scene as well.

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Tomorrow’s media availability session will be at 11 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 27 North 27th St in Billings. PLEASE NOTE: A conference line is available for media who cannot attend. Please contact the individuals listed at the top of this release for dial-in information.

The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 406-657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

July 13 Update on Federal Response to Silvertip Pipeline Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana
Community meeting tonight, shoreline teams increase
Matthew Allen, (720) 237-7414; Libby Faulk, (406) 351-9014
(Billings, Mont -- July 13, 2011)

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

Shoreline Cleanup & Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams are continuing to carefully assess and clean up the most heavily affected areas of the spill and are combing the riverbanks again today. SCAT teams will increase from 4 to 6 over the next few days. A Rapid Deployment SCAT team that EPA and MDEQ directed ExxonMobil to develop will be added as well to quickly address new sightings of removable oil and to delineate downstream shoreline impacts.

“As I stated yesterday, increased access means increased progress and we’re increasing the SCAT teams from four to six,” said Steve Merritt, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “Including the Rapid Deployment team, that gives us seven teams to survey and confirm the extent and severity of shoreline oiling.”

Soil and sediment sampling continues, and cleanup activities will carry on as the samples are collected. Soil and sediment samples are used to determine locations where oil was transported and what compounds are present in the environment. This, in turn, will greatly assist with ongoing assessments and cleanup efforts.

There are 680 personnel on site with 460 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. Cleanup crews have used 43,000 linear feet of materials such as absorbent booms and sweeps, and 260,000 absorbent pads. There are 46 boats on scene as well. Declining floodwaters have given cleanup crews, SCAT teams, sampling teams, and scientists increased access to locations previously inaccessible.

EPA will hold a community meeting at the Laurel High School tonight, July 13th at 6:30 p.m. The high school is located at 203 East 8th Street in Laurel.

Tomorrow’s media availability session will be at 11 a.m. at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 27 North 27th St in Billings. The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

July 12 Update on Federal Response to Silvertip Pipeline Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana
Sampling continues, community meeting in Laurel tomorrow night

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1, a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. The current estimate of the amount of oil released remains at 1,000 barrels based on information provided by ExxonMobil. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment. EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. EPA continues to hold ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable for assessment and cleanup.

There are 640 personnel on site with 420 currently in the field engaged in cleanup or sampling activities. Cleanup crews have used 40,000 linear feet of materials such as absorbent booms and sweeps, and 8,600 square feet of materials such as absorbent pads. Crews have recovered 942 barrels of oily liquids and 505 cubic yards of oily solids. Liquid waste is being processed at ExxonMobil’s refinery near Laurel, while solid waste is being stored until it is transferred to a landfill in Bennett, CO.

EPA will also perform soil and sediment sampling today in addition to continued air, surface water and drinking water sampling. EPA has developed sampling plans in conjunction with the state of Montana and federal cleanup partners. These sampling plans use the state of Montana regulatory standards to ensure we are being protective of human health and the environment.

Shoreline Cleanup & Assessment Technique (SCAT) teams are continuing to carefully assess and clean up the most heavily affected areas of the spill and are combing the riverbanks again today.

“Increased access means increased progress,” said Steve Merritt, EPA On-Scene Coordinator. “The number of accessible sites for assessment and cleanup is going to increase as water levels continue to fall. We’ve seen a dramatic increase in the amount of shoreline our SCAT teams can access in the past 24 hours.”

EPA will hold a community meeting at the Laurel High School on Wednesday, July 13th at 6:30 p.m. The high school is located at 203 East 8th Street in Laurel. At the event, EPA will provide an update on the cleanup and local public health representatives will address human health issues associated with the spill. In addition state and other federal agencies will be available to answer questions. Company representatives will also be available. An availability session to address specific needs will be held afterward. Media are encouraged to attend.

Tomorrow’s media availability session will be held at the Governors Information Center in Billings at 11 a.m. The building is located at 424 Morey Street in Billings. The Montana DEQ encourages people to call the Governor’s information line at 657-0231 with questions, concerns or comments, or visit www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.

 

July 11 Update on Federal Response to Silvertip Pipeline Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana

Below: EPA will hold a community meeting at the Laurel High School on Wednesday, July 13th at 6:30 p.m. The high school is located at 203 East 8th Street in Laurel.

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. According to the company’s estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off. EPA is on-site and is directing and overseeing cleanup efforts, conducting air and water sampling and holding ExxonMobil, the responsible party, accountable. EPA's primary concern is protecting people's health and the environment and EPA will remain on-site to ensure cleanup and restoration efforts do just that. There are nearly 600 responders on scene conducting cleanup activities on various parts of the river. EPA will continue to direct and oversee the cleanup and restoration of the Yellowstone River and will continue to work to ensure people's health and the environment are protected.

EPA is providing ongoing water and air monitoring in the impacted areas of Montana, and will continue to sample wells that provide drinking water to homes and businesses. As water levels recede and shorelines become more accessible, Shoreline Cleanup Assessment Teams (SCAT) will be deployed to begin shoreline cleaning.

Over the weekend, ExxonMobil delivered a draft work plan to EPA. The work plan contains seven elements. EPA has determined three of those elements require further clarification and scope definition by the company. EPA has instructed ExxonMobil to provide a revised plan within the week. Those three areas that will be addressed are the oil recovery containment, source release area, and remediation sections of the plan. For further information please see the Administrative Order posted at the website below.

Media availability sessions will continue to be held by EPA daily at 11 a.m. The session will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, located at 27 North 27th Street in Billings, Conference Room 5 (3rd floor).

EPA will hold a community meeting at the Laurel High School on Wednesday, July 13th at 6:30 p.m. The high school is located at 203 East 8th Street in Laurel. At the event, EPA will provide an update on the cleanup and local public health representatives will address human health issues associated with the spill. In addition state and other federal agencies will be available to answer questions. Company representatives will also be available. An availability session to address specific needs will be held afterward. Media are encouraged to attend.

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7/10/2011 EPA Region 8 news release: EPA Update on Yellowstone River Oil Spill (Silvertip Pipeline), July 10, 2011. This news release also provides the following correction: "The public meeting to be held in Laurel, MT this week has been moved from Tuesday to Wednesday at 6:30 PM, location to be determined."

 

July 7 Update on Federal Response to Silvertip Pipeline Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. According to the company's estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off.

EPA's primary concern is protection of human health and the environment, and the agency is conducting both air and water sampling to determine what impacts the spill may have on air or water quality, while also ensuring the responsible party is held accountable. Air monitoring using real-time instruments that look for volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide continue to show no detections in ambient air along the Yellowstone River. Additionally, air sampling for benzene has been conducted between Laurel, MT, and Billings, MT, with no detections. We have collected six 24-hour air samples at locations along the Yellowstone River to ensure the continued protection of the community and emergency responders and will publish these results as soon as they are available.

Water sampling conducted by EPA between Laurel and Miles City, MT indicates there are no petroleum hydrocarbons above drinking water levels standards in that region. Preliminary results indicate that the Yellowstone River poses no threat to agriculture use. Prior sampling and ongoing monitoring indicate that the municipal drinking water supplies in these areas remain safe. Fully validated results will be on the EPA website within the next few days. EPA will be coordinating domestic well water testing and conducting indoor air sampling at residences impacted by the spill.

EPA is also directing and overseeing cleanup activities since arriving at the site. As of Thursday, July 7, approximately 544 personnel are involved in the incident response and over 360 are in the field conducting cleanup operations and recovering oil. Personnel continue to walk the shores and deploy absorbent boom along the river banks to absorb oil that has collected in slow water areas along the shoreline. While most of the oil has been encountered within 30 miles of the spill, a pocket of emulsified oil has been spotted approximately 80 miles downstream. No evidence of visible oil staining or emulsified oil has sighted beyond this point during ground and aerial reconnaissance to Miles City.

On July 6, EPA issued an order to ExxonMobil, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, directing the company to take a number of clean-up and restoration activities as a result of an oil spill into the Yellowstone River. EPA will continue in its role in directing and overseeing the cleanup and restoration of the river and ensuring the protection of human health and the environment.

EPA is coordinating its response actions with the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and state and local agencies and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure ExxonMobil, as the responsible party, addresses any and all potential impacts of this spill. In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for determining the cause of the pipeline failure and has been onsite since Saturday.

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July 6 Update on Federal Response to Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. According to the company’s estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off.

EPA’s primary concern is protection of human health and the environment, and the agency is conducting both air and water sampling to determine what impacts the spill may have on air or water quality, while also ensuring the responsible party is held accountable. EPA has initiated air and water quality sampling and will make the results available to the public as soon as the data are available. Air monitoring using real-time instruments that look for volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide is ongoing with no detections in the last 72 hours. Additionally, air sampling for benzene has been conducted between Laurel, MT, and Billings, MT, with no detectable levels. We are deploying additional air samplers at specific locations to ensure the continued protection of the community and emergency responders.

EPA is also directing and overseeing cleanup activities since arriving at the site. As of Wednesday, July 6, approximately 440 responders are on the scene and conducting cleanup activities. Personnel continue to walk the shores and deploy absorbent boom along the river banks to absorb oil that has collected in slow water areas along the shoreline. Responders continue to work to assess where the oil has traveled and what impact it may be having.

The river has been divided into 4 divisions for planning and operational purposes. Initial cleanup activities are concentrated in the first two divisions -- from Laurel to Duck Creek Bridge and Duck Creek Bridge to Johnson Lane -- where responders have identified the most oil-impacted areas. The third river segment encompasses the area from Johnson Lane to Miles City and will also undergo reconnaissance and cleanup. The fourth division includes the remaining downstream portion of the river from Miles City to Glendive.

Today, EPA issued an order to ExxonMobil, pursuant to the Clean Water Act, directing the company to take a number of clean-up and restoration activities as a result of an oil spill into the Yellowstone River. EPA will continue in its role in directing and overseeing the cleanup and restoration of the river and ensuring the protection of human health and the environment.

EPA is coordinating its response actions with the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and state and local agencies and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure ExxonMobil, as the responsible party, addresses any and all potential impacts of this spill.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for determining the cause of the pipeline failure and has been onsite since Saturday.

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July 5 Update on Federal Response to Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. According to the company’s estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off.

EPA’s primary concern is protection of human health and the environment, and the agency is conducting both air and water sampling to determine what impacts the spill may have on air or water quality, while also ensuring the responsible party is held accountable. EPA began initial water sampling yesterday and comprehensive air and water sampling plans are being developed.

EPA is also directing and overseeing cleanup activities since arriving at the site. As of Tuesday, July 5, approximately 350 responders are on the scene and conducting cleanup activities. Personnel continue to walk the shores and deploy absorbent boom along the river banks to absorb oil that has collected in slow water areas along the shoreline. Responders continue to work to assess where the oil has traveled and what impact it may be having.

EPA Region 8 Administrator Jim Martin briefed Governor Schweitzer and other state officials on the cleanup operation today and led the group to view on-site response activities.

The river has been divided into 4 divisions for planning and operational purposes. Initial cleanup activities are concentrated in the first two divisions -- from Laurel to Duck Creek Bridge and Duck Creek Bridge to Johnson Lane -- where responders have identified the most oil-impacted areas. The third river segment encompasses the area from Johnson Lane to Miles City and will also undergo reconnaissance and cleanup. The fourth division includes the remaining downstream portion of the river from Miles City to Glendive.

EPA is coordinating its response actions with the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and state and local agencies and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure ExxonMobil, as the responsible party, addresses any and all potential impacts of this spill.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for determining the cause of the pipeline failure and has been onsite since Saturday.

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July 4 Update on Federal Response to Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana. According to the company’s estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off.

EPA’s primary concern is protection of human health and the environment, and the agency is conducting both air and water sampling to determine what impacts the spill may have on air or water quality, while also ensuring the responsible party, is held accountable.

EPA is also directing and overseeing cleanup activities since arriving at the site. As of Monday, July 4, approximately 250 responders are on the scene and conducting cleanup activities.

The river has been divided into 4 divisions for planning and operational purposes. Initial cleanup activities are concentrated in the first two divisions -- from Laurel to Duck Creek Bridge and Duck Creek Bridge to Johnson Lane -- where responders have identified the most oil-impacted areas. The third river segment encompasses the area from Johnson Lane to Miles City and will also undergo reconnaissance and cleanup. The fourth division includes the remaining downstream portion of the river from Miles City to Glendive.

Personnel continue to walk the shores and deploy absorbent boom along the river banks to absorb oil that has collected in slow water areas along the shoreline.

Responders continue to work to assess where the oil has traveled and what impact it may be having. Yesterday, EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel conducted an aerial assessment of the area beginning where the pipeline apparently broke, near Laurel, to a point 30 miles downstream of Billings. They reported seeing bank deposits and small pooling of oil in backwaters and slow water at intermittent points along both the north and south banks of the river.

EPA is coordinating its response actions with the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and state and local agencies and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure ExxonMobil, as the responsible party, addresses any and all potential impacts of this spill.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration is responsible for determining the cause of the pipeline failure and has been onsite since Saturday..

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July 3 Federal Response to Oil Spill Near Billings, Montana

At approximately 11 p.m. on Friday, July 1 a break occurred in a 12-inch pipeline owned by ExxonMobil that resulted in a spill of crude oil into the Yellowstone River approximately 20 miles upstream of Billings, Montana.  According to the company’s estimates, 1,000 barrels of oil entered the river, which is in flood stage, before the pipeline was cut off.

An EPA on-scene coordinator (OSC) has been directing and overseeing cleanup activities since arriving at the site.  This morning EPA and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service personnel conducted an aerial assessment of the area beginning where the pipeline apparently broke, near Laurel, to a point 30 miles downstream of Billings.  They reported seeing bank deposits and small pooling of oil in backwaters and slow water at intermittent points along both the north and south banks of the river. Personnel are walking the shores and are deploying absorbent booms along the river banks to absorb oil that has collected in slow water areas along the shoreline. 

EPA has mobilized 50 emergency response personnel in addition to four U.S. Coast Guard personnel from the Pacific Strike Team who are scheduled to arrive this evening. ExxonMobil, as the responsible party, has 40 personnel on the ground. By Sunday evening approximately 200 responders will be on-site to assist in cleanup and minimize any potential health and environmental impacts from this spill. 

The river has been divided into 4 divisions for planning and operational purposes.  The first two divisions encompass the 15-20 miles of river immediately downstream of the spill and initial cleanup efforts are concentrated there (Laurel to Billings, Montana).  The next two river segments will encompass the area from Billings to Glendive.  That will cover an area of 180 miles of shoreline.

EPA is coordinating its response actions with the Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service and state and local agencies and will take whatever steps are necessary to ensure ExxonMobil, as the responsible party, addresses any and all potential impacts of this spill.

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Contact Information

Public questions: 303‑312‑6015, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. MT weekdays.

Exxon Claims Questions:
888‑382‑0043

ExxonMobil Community Outreach:
2345 King Avenue West, Suite B
Billings, MT 59102
406-969-1750
Monday - Friday 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Hotline:
800-259-0596

National Information

Oil Cleanup Home

To report a spill: National Response Center (NRC), 800‑424-8802

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