April 13, 2015
Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks has lifted its consumption advisory for fish caught on the Yellowstone River near the spill. After the ice left the river in March, FWP fisheries biologists were able to catch 213 fish representing species known to live in the river between the spill site and the North Dakota border. Laboratory tests of those fish showed no detectible levels of petroleum contamination in the edible muscle tissues.
*The following updates came from information provided by the Unified Command.
April 10, 2015
At 7:00 a.m. today, the Unified Command was dissolved. Work will continue with oversight from DEQ under the authority of the Montana Water Quality Act and the Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act. Bridger and its consultants will coordinate with DEQ on work plans, reports, additional cleanup and other work regarding remediation, confirmation sampling and reclamation work.
April 8, 2015
The Unified Command has been notified that an eight-foot section of damaged pipeline has been successfully withdrawn from the Yellowstone River. The linked image shows a break along a section weld line. Go to the Poplar Pipeline Response website for more information.
April 3, 2015
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has received Bridger Pipeline's work plan to remove the exposed section of damaged pipeline in the Yellowstone River. The plan calls for dive vessels and support craft to be launched on Monday and Tuesday, April 6 and 7 while divers locate and survey the pipeline. A small, temporary hydro-dam diversion wall will allow for some protection against river flow as survey and withdrawal work is underway.
"Pigs" remain in the broken section of the line and were used to purge remaining oil toward the gate valves where it was recovered. These devices may be pushed out of the pipeline after sectioning the line, or withdrawn manually. A 10 to 15-foot section of the line containing the rupture is expected to be removed to the north shore on Wednesday, April 8. Questions about the pipe removal should be addressed to Bridger.
March 27, 2015
The Montana Department of Environmental Quality has issued comments on the Poplar Pipeline Response for Sediment and Co-located Water Sampling Work Plan and Schedule.
For the Comments document, click here.
March 25, 2015
The Unified Command has transitioned from emergency response and oil recovery under the Incident Command System to long-term remediation and monitoring. The EPA will issue its final report and DEQ will assume the role of lead agency. Cleanup, monitoring and data collection will continue. The Montana DNRC and FWP will continue to serve in support roles for the State. The EPA will remain available for consultation and assistance as necessary.
The last of the ice in the Yellowstone River melted during the week of March 13. Extensive reconnaissance by boat and air is being conducted from the spill site to the Montana/North Dakota border. Staining and sheen has been noted, but no recoverable oil has been found.
For the full press release, click here.
March 16, 2015
The City of Glendive has lifted its "conserve water" advisory for residents on the City's water system. The water treatment plant is up and running and the water being produced is clean and safe to drink.
March 15, 2015
The Glendive Water Treatment plant is back online and making water. Workers completed the aeration system late this morning and it is working as expected. Readings of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) have been zero throughout the morning. The aeration system will allow the plant to continue operations as the last of the ice melts on the river and releases whatever amount of oil remains from the Poplar Pipeline spill January 17.
Officials at the Glendive Water Department are asking residents to continue to conserve water until Monday so that the water plant can refill its reserve tanks. The level in the reserve tanks dropped while the system was shutdown the last 30 hours.
Workers from Dawson County provided more than 750 gallons of bottled water the last two days to local residents, the prison and the local hospital.
It is important to point out that at no time did any contamination make its way into the Glendive water system. The system was shut down because of higher than normal levels of VOCs at the intake for the system. The new monitoring system installed after the January 17 breach of the Poplar Pipeline worked as designed and allowed workers to keep the city’s water supply safe.
The water in the system remains clean and safe to drink.
March 14, 2015 - City of Glendive – Water Conservation Advisory
The City of Glendive is asking residents on the city water system to conserve water this weekend. On Saturday morning, due to the ice break-up in the river, the city water plant detected a higher than normal level of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) at the intake. This situation was planned for and the plant is currently shut down to preserve the clean water in the system. Currently, all of the water in the city’s water system is clean and safe to drink and water is available for emergency fire response.
The main concern is that if current conditions remain and no action is taken, the water plant may need to be shut down for a longer period of time.
The Unified Command is taking actions to ensure the residents of the city of Glendive continue to have an uninterrupted supply of clean drinking water:
Installing an aeration system at the water plant to remove traces of VOCs from the water. That will be completed as soon as possible, but no later than Sunday and will enable the plant to produce clean water regardless of the conditions on the river.
Asking residents to conserve water during the weekend of March 14-15.
Providing bottled water assist with water conservation to anyone who needs extra supply of drinking water. Bottled water can be picked up from 1-5pm Saturday at the Dawson County Emergency Operations Center.
Testing the water at the intake and distribution point to ensure the city’s water supply is protected efforts.
March 13, 2015
Warm weather has made on-ice recovery of oil unsafe. Members of the Unified Command are monitoring conditions and responding to reports of oil on the river. Spill responders will resume assessing the impact of the spill on the river once the ice is clear. In the meantime, local residents can report oil sightings or odor complaints by calling the Poplar Response Hotline at 888-959-8351.
A joint press release notes additional resources have been deployed to Glendive in anticipation of the ice break-up. Air monitoring and water sampling equipment will be on-hand for quick response.
Specialized monitoring equipment has been installed at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant that will detect crude oil contaminants at the intake. Should Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) be detected, the intakes will automatically close to prevent contaminants from entering the system.
March 6, 2015
The U.S. Department of Transportation's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration has approved Bridger Pipeline's request to reopen a 49-mile portion of the Poplar System beyond the rupture point that occurred on January 17 under the Yellowstone River. The approved section does not cross any major waterways and will be restarted under reduced operating pressure and enhanced surveillance.
March 5, 2015
DEQ continues to have a presence in Glendive as the Poplar Pipeline spill response is in it's interim phase.
Weather conditions are still hampering the recovery of oil. Surveillance continues and no new visible impacts downstream have been observed.
Information is being developed and disseminated to landowners along the river with instructions on who to contact and what to do if any oil is spotted.
Bridger Pipeline, LLC has responded to DEQ's Notice of Potential Liability Letter under the Comprehensive Environmental Cleanup and Responsibility Act and the Water Quality Act, sent February 12.
Bridger Pipeline, LLC Response to DEQ Notice of Potential Liability Letter
DEQ Notice of Potential Liability Letter to Bridger Pipeline, LLC
February 26, 2015
The long-term monitoring equipment, or Total VOC Analyzer, is now online at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant. The daily sampling of water at the intake and output will be discontinued today. The EPA mobile lab will demobilize on February 27.
February 23, 2015
On Friday, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks updated its fish consumption advisory. Detectable levels of petroleum were found in tests of fish pulled from the Yellowstone River downstream from the Poplar Pipeline break near Glendive. See the full press release here: http://fwp.mt.gov/news/newsReleases/fishing/nr_0887.html
February 20, 2015
The results for the ten groundwater wells sampled on February 11 and 12 came back non-detect for volatile organic compounds. These wells were selected due to their shallow depth and vicinity to the pipeline break.
February 18, 2015
Daily updates coming from the Unified Command continue to be much of the same. Reconnaissance has been conducted from the incident location to the confluence of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers. On February 17, there were no visible impacts observed. A flyover was conducted with notes of some open water and no sheen from Glendive to Savage. Oil recovery continues to be hampered by weather conditions.
February 13, 2015
Cold temperatures have drastically slowed oil recovery again. However, 3.5 barrels of oil have been recovered from the river this week. Booms have been deployed on the ice to help capture and collect oil on the surface.
February 12, 2015
Five shallow groundwater wells in the vicinity of the break (from the pipeline to Glendive) were sampled yesterday and came back non-detect for crude oil or crude oil constituents. An additional four to five will be sampled today.
The long-term monitoring equipment for the water treatment plant has arrived and is being installed today. It should be operational in the coming days.
Oil recovery has been limited due to weather and ice conditions. A small amount of oil was recovered Monday and Tuesday. Estimates of how much was recovered are still being calculated.
Wildlife agencies are still waiting for the fish tissue sample results to come back. There have been no reports of oiled wildlife.
February 9, 2015
Response crews are back out on the ice today recovering oil from the Yellowstone River. Over the weekend, weather conditions became more favorable and crews were able to use oil spill boom to keep oil on the ice from spreading, and cut slots into the ice in some places. Confirmed oil recovered from both the pipeline and the river stands at about 23,000 gallons. Updated recovery numbers will be provided as they are available.
Water sampling continues daily at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant. All samples continue to confirm the water in Glendive is safe to drink. Environmental specialists continue their sampling efforts at various locations along the Yellowstone River.
February 6, 2015
A spill response crew continues to monitor the river everyday. With warmer weather in the coming days, there is a chance that more oil may be recovered.
Unified Command has signed a groundwater sampling plan and sampling will begin next week.
We continue to encourage people to call the hotline at 888-959-8351 if they have questions or concerns regarding the spill and response.
February 4, 2015
The Unified Command has received comment asking why individual home water sampling is not taking place. The Glendive public water supply is a regulated entity and two samples per day are taken before the water goes through the treatment process and after the treatment process. These are the compliance points and we now have a consistent data set showing no elevated levels of contaminants. (See Water Treatment Plant Sampling Results in the Maps and Documents tab.) The public water supply is in compliance and safe.
Residents need to make sure they have flushed their systems properly. Steps Glendive residents should take to flush their systems If anyone still has questions, call the hotline at: 888-959-8351
If anyone detects odors in their water, call the hotline. The hotline is manned from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. If you reach the hotline after hours, leave a message and someone will call you back.
February 2, 2015
Oil recovery activities were suspended over the weekend due to weather conditions. The current oil recovery estimate is 548 barrels (23,016 gallons) from both the pipeline and the river. Water samples are still being taken at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant and continue to show no detection of contaminants.
Response teams are staged in Glendive to quickly recover oil should it be observed or reported. Detailed incident plans for both Phase II (Interim) and Phase II of the spill response can be found here.
January 31, 2015
January 30, 2015
The Unified Command is shifting to an interim phase now that all of the oil remaining in the pipeline has been recovered. On-ice recovery of oil from the Yellowstone River will continue as conditions allow.
During the interim phase, workers will continue water sampling at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant and environmental specialists will take water samples along the river at the site of the the release and at select points downstream. Additional environmental sampling will also be conducted to determine the extent of the spill's environmental impact and to guide future response plans once the ice breaks up.
Bridger Pipeline will have a team of oil spill response specialists stationed in Glendive to support environmental monitoring and to collect any residual, recoverable oil from the January 17 release. Both the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Montana Department of Environmental Quality will have on-scene coordinators to oversee response efforts.
To date, response crews have collected 536.6 barrels of oil (about 22,537 gallons) out of more than 1,200 barrels that could have been released. Most of the oil recovery was from within the pipeline after it was shut down. Workers have been collecting about 400 gallons of oil a day from their on-ice recovery efforts.
Air monitoring concluded in the city of Glendive on January 28. Seven days of continuous monitoring showed no elevated levels of hydrocarbon components in the air. All drinking water sampling continues to show the water in Glendive is safe to drink. Scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Emergency Response Division analyzed sampling data and their consensus was that the levels of contaminants were "well below public health concern thresholds and may in fact be near background levels."
At the height of the response, more than 125 workers from Bridger Pipeline, the State of Montana, and the Federal government were responding to the pipeline breach. During the interim operations, approximately 20 people will be working daily on environmental monitoring, oil recovery, and claims processing.
January 29, 2015
Crews will continue oil recovery on the Yellowstone River today. Safety is a top priority and river conditions are constantly monitored; however, temperatures have cooled and river conditions have stabilized.
January 28, 2015
Oil Recovery Update: 490 barrels (20,580 gallons) recovered from pipeline, 41 barrels (1,722 gallons) recovered from river, 694 barrels (29,148 gallons) un-recovered from river.
High resolution sonar did not reveal any new information on the pipeline; however, it did confirm what the lower resolution sonar identified over the last couple of days.
The river flow rate and turbidity under the ice is too high for any camera results.
The warm weather has created difficult river ice conditions hampering recovery and investigation at the pipeline crossing.
Planned Pipeline Activities:
The pipeline crew is now working on a camera that can be inserted into the pipe and attempt to capture information on the pipeline breach from inside the pipeline. First attempts will be to insert the camera from the northwest side of the river.
January 27, 2015
Oil Recovery Update: Another 10 barrels of oil were recovered from the river today, bringing the total recovered to 518 barrels (21,756 gallons).
January 26, 2015
Oil Recovery Update: 490 barrels (20,580 gallons) recovered from pipeline, 28 barrels (1,176 gallons) recovered from river, 707 barrels (29,694 gallons) un-recovered from river.
EPA Pollution Report: River conditions are hampering access to the spilled oil. There is extensive ice cover on the Yellowstone River, but the ice is not sound enough in many locations to conduct response efforts. Significant thawing has occurred in the past two days and is increasing the risks associated with oil assessment and recovery efforts.
Current reconnaissance indicates that there is not much oil remaining in the operational theater. More than 160 man-hours per day and an extensive array of equipment is being used to recover oil within the first three miles downstream of the pipeline break. Given the unsafe working conditions and the limited oil recovered, as discussed earlier in the pollution report, the response is rapidly approaching the point of diminishing returns. This is especially relevant given evidence of the physical damage caused to the river by activities of the response crews and equipment. Representatives from Montana Department of Natural Resources & Conservation and Fish, Wildlife & Parks have expressed concern that this is likely to be the most significant source of damages to the riverine system.
It has been brought to the attention of the Unified Command by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service that much of the river corridor hosts nesting sites used by bald eagles; golden eagles; least terns; piping plovers; and great blue herons that are protected, threatened, or endangered. Eagles have already returned to the area and it is expected that they will begin nesting as early as February. Other significant species include the endangered pallid sturgeon and the spiny softshell turtle. The UC is weighing the impacts of the response (airboats, helicopters, and vehicular and foot traffic) along the shoreline versus the limited oil recovery and limited product remaining.
Water Sampling Update: Drinking water sampling in the community of Glendive has been conducted daily since Montana environmental officials declared the water safe to drink on January 22.
Environmental specialists have sampled water at the intake of the water treatment plant, as well as treated water from the plant, each day. All results have been well within drinking water standards.
Additionally, 24 surface water samples have been taken on the river, including at the spill site, and all of them have been within standards.
Workers took potable water samples from fire hydrants, residences, and public buildings and all samples have been below Maximum Contaminant Levels. Water is tested for Volatile Organic Compounds, including benzene, and other components of crude oil. Based on these samples, Glendive residents should feel comfortable continuing to use their water as normal.
Sampling of water at the intake and treated water at the water treatment plant will continue. Equipment is expected to be put in place to detect and alert water treatment plant operators of anything abnormal entering the system long-term.
Unified Command Update: January 24, 2015
Air Monitoring Update: The air in the community of Glendive has been monitored 24 hours a day since Sunday afternoon, January 18. Monitoring has been for benzene, Volatile Organic Compounds, and other compounds associated with crude oil. None of these compounds have been detected in the air anywhere in the community. Based on these results, the residents of Glendive should feel comfortable with their normal activities, including allowing their children to play outside. Any questions about air monitoring can be referred to the Poplar Response Hotline 1-888-959-8351.
Pipeline Update: A sonar survey of the Poplar Pipeline where it crosses the Yellowstone River near Glendive shows that the pipeline is exposed on the river bed for approximately 100-110 feet near the site of the breach. At one point, the bottom of the river bed is about one foot (1 ft) below the pipeline. Bridger Pipeline last confirmed the depth of the pipeline under the river in September 2011. At that time, the pipeline was about eight feet (8 ft) below the river bed at its shallowest point. The sonar survey did not identify a cause of the pipeline breach that occurred January 17, but this data will assist investigators in determining the cause of the spill. Current estimates show the pipeline could have leaked up to 925 barrels of oil (38,850 gallons) into the Yellowstone River. Responders recovered a significant amount of oil from the pipeline on January 23 and January 24. A final tally of the total oil recovered is being made and a more precise estimate of the volume lost is being calculated. These numbers will be released in the next few days. On Sunday, workers from Ballard Marine Construction will continue to examine the pipeline to further assess the line. Oil recovery continues on the river. The weather will play a big factor in the coming days. Crews also continue to try to determine the cause of the pipeline breach. The information center has been closed; however, if people still have questions, they may call the hotline.
Unified Command Update: January 23, 2015
Bottled Water Distribution Update: Bottled water distribution is being discontinued for residents on the City of Glendive's water system as the city's water has been certified safe to drink by the Montana Department of Environmental Quality. As a precaution, local authorities have stockpiled a two-day supply of bottled water at the Dawson County Disaster and Emergency Services office in Glendive.
Residential Water System Update: Some residents have reported a dark brown to black material coming out of taps at or near the end of the flushing process. The EPA has evaluated several of these incidents. Environmental Protection Agency Incident Commander Paul Peronard says the material is not related to the spill but rather is naturally occurring sediment that built up when the water system was not in use.
If you encounter sediment during the flushing process, please continue to flush and wash the material down the drain. No further action is needed.
If you encounter odor in your water after the flushing process, please report that to the hotline at 888-959-8351.
Unified Command Update: Glendive municipal water supply now meeting standards set by the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, according to DEQ.
January 22, 2015
Unified Command Update: Steps Glendive residents should take to flush their systems.
Public Meeting: A Glendive Water System Public Meeting Update will be held this evening, Thursday, January 22, at 7:00 p.m. at the Glendive High School, 900 North Merrill Avenue. This is an informational meeting for all users of the municipal water system to carry out several steps to flush any remaining contamination from the system.
January 21, 2015
Unified Command Update: The Glendive water treatment plant has been decontaminated. Preliminary sampling shows all of the contaminants that were elevated in water samples earlier this week are now below federal clean water standards. Confirmation testing is being done overnight and certified test results available tomorrow. The main water distribution lines have been flushed through the fire hydrants and samples have been taken. If those samples also show levels within safe drinking water limits, workers will begin the process of instructing residents how to flush the water in their homes and businesses.
Montana Public Radio offers interviews with EPA on-site coordinator Paul Peronard, Bridger on-site public information officer Bill Salvin, and Glendive Mayor Jerry Jimison.
The Montana Department of Fish Wildlife & Parks has issued a press release calling for a fish consumption advisory for the Yellowstone River between the spill site just upstream from Glendive and the North Dakota state line.
January 20, 2015
Unified Command Update: Oil spill response workers recovered approximately 240 barrels of crude oil from the Poplar Pipeline Tuesday. Workers recovered the oil from the south side of the Yellowstone River where the pipeline crosses about six miles upstream from Glendive.
Responders earlier had calculated the pipeline breach to have a worst-case discharge of up to 1,200 barrels (50,000 gallons) of crude oil. Today’s recovery reduces the total estimated escaped crude into the river to be about 960 barrels (or 40,000 gallons.)
Drinking water is still being made available due to concerns about safety of the city’s water supply. Testing Monday showed elevated levels of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), predominantly benzene in the water.
Workers continue installing additional treatment capability at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant to clean the system and bring it back online.
The Unified Command is sampling water from the plant so that the water system can be restarted. Residents will be able to resume using their water once the water quality is determined safe.
In the meantime, 16,500 gallons of drinking water is available for residents to pick up at the Eastern Plains Event Center at 313 South Merrill Avenue in Glendive.
A community center has been established at the Dawson County Courthouse at 207 W. Bell in Glendive. Representatives of Bridger Pipeline will be available to answer questions about the response. A representative from the Governor’s office will also be on hand. The center will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. daily.
11:00 a.m.: The City of Glendive is advising residents to not drink or cook with water from the city's municipal water system. Drinking water is being distributed at the Eastern Plains Event
Center at 313 South Merrill Avenue in Glendive. Water is being delivered daily and will be available. Please monitor the Dawson County website at www.dawsoncountymontana.org for updates on water arrival.
Work at the Glendive Water Treatment Plant is underway to remove the contamination and bring the system back on line. Those actions include:
Increasing the dose of activated carbon, which removes contaminants.
If the activated carbon does not prove adequate, workers will add air stripping equipment at the plant inlet to pretreat water coming into the facility.
The increased activated carbon treatment began at 9:00 a.m. Tuesday and testing will be done later today to determine if this treatment is effective. If workers need to install the air stripping equipment a the plant inlet, it will take an additional day to complete that work.
Once DEQ certifies the water safe at the plant, the system will be flushed so that residents can resume using their water.
Drinking water will continue to be made available until the water system is certified safe to drink. Residents can pick up the water at Eastern Plains Event Center at 313 South Merrill Avenue in Glendive.
7:45 a.m.: A hotline has been established for drinking water concerns: 888-959-8351
7:30 a.m.: Results from the first water sample taken from the Glendive Municipal Water Treatment Plant has come back and the sample showed an elevated level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), predominantly benzene. The presence of benzene would account for reports of adverse odor in the local water supply. This test result confirms findings from field samples taken Monday at several locations in the city.
While the elevated levels are above the level for long-term consumption, the scientists who reviewed the data at the Centers for Disease Control have told the Unified Command that they “do not see that domestic use of this water poses a short term public health hazard.”
Because of the public concern over the safety of the Glendive municipal water supply, the Unified Command has made arrangements to provide drinking water to Glendive residents on the city’s municipal water supply.
The Unified Command is taking two additional actions to confirm these test results and to remove the contamination from the Glendive Municipal Water System.
First, plans are being put in place to fully decontaminate the Glendive Municipal Water system.
Also, responders will continue to sample the water from multiple locations for testing in both field sites and laboratories. Those results will be released as they become available.
The Unified Command was established in response to a release from the Poplar Pipeline System owned by Bridger Pipeline, LLC. The command is operating out the Dawson County Disaster and Emergency Service Center in Glendive. Officials believe up to 1,200 barrels of crude oil (approximately 50,000 gallons) leaked from the Poplar Pipeline near where the line crosses the Yellowstone River near Glendive.
January 19, 2015
Unified Command Update: On January 17th at 3:00 pm, Bridger Pipeline, LLC notified local authorities of a potential release from a pipeline that crosses the Yellowstone River approximately five miles upstream from Glendive. Dawson County has received complaints of odor in drinking water from people who use the municipal water supply.
Water samples were taken from the municipal drinking water supply on Monday morning and were expedited to Energy Labs in Billings for analysis. Until more definitive information is made available, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that residents do not ingest municipal water and to use bottled water for drinking and cooking. The Incident Management Team has ordered bottled water for public distribution at The EPEC building located at 313 South Merrill Avenue – time to be announced – for individuals seeking assistance. Water conservation is encouraged to preserve water capacity for emergency response.
Additional information about testing and drinking water will be posted as soon as it becomes available. For the most current information please visit the DEQ Bridger Pipeline Spill website at http://www.deq.mt.gov/yellowstonespill2015.mcpx. Updates will also be posted on the DEQ Twitter and Facebook.
For more information, contact the Dawson County Health Department at (406) 377-5213
An Executive Order has been issued by the Governor's office proclaiming an emergency to exist in the counties of Dawson and Richland along the Yellowstone River.
GIS Map of Bridger Pipeline Oil Spill
Water samples will be taken in Glendive and tested to determine any potential impact to drinking water supply. DEQ and EPA are responding to concerned citizens to sample their water using portable hand-held devices.
January 18, 2015:
On January 17th Bridger Pipeline LLC detected a pressure drop and shut down flow in the pipeline that crosses the Yellowstone River 9.22 river miles south (upstream) of the City of Glendive.
There was a release of crude oil from a 12-inch pipeline.
According to company reports, the operator’s aerial patrol plane has confirmed a sheen on the Yellowstone River in open water approximately three fourths-mile downstream and also at the first intake that is 25 miles downstream (north) of Glendive. Oil sheen has also been found 15 miles north of the intake, near Savage.
The company estimates between 300 and 1,200 bbLs (12,600 and 50,400 gallons) have been released.
DEQ and other emergency response agencies are traveling to the scene, or are on scene, to work together to assess the situation.
North Dakota is dispatching someone as well to look for signs of oil on their side of the border.
No injuries or fatalities have been reported.
The pipeline is shut down.