The estimated 50,000 gallons of crude oil that spilled from a pipeline into Montana’s Yellowstone River Saturday has forced truckloads of water to be shipped in to one Montana city, after traces of the oil were found in the city’s water supplies.
Residents of Glendive, Montana began reporting an unusual odor coming from their taps Sunday night, even after initial tests of the city’s water supply on Saturday and Sunday didn’t reveal traces of oil. Late Monday night, the Environmental Protection Agency confirmed that the oil had reached the drinking water supply of the town, which is home to about 5,000 people. The spill occurred after a break the Poplar Pipeline, which carries Bakken oil from Canada to Baker, Montana. Officials are advising Glendive residents not to drink or cook with their tap water.
“The initial results of samples taken from the City of Glendive’s drinking water system indicate the presence of hydrocarbons at elevated levels, and water intakes in the river have been closed,” the EPA said in a statement. The agency said it is working with Montana agencies and Bridger Pipeline LLC, the company in charge of the pipeline that leaked oil into the river, to “secure alternative drinking water supplies for residents and develop a plan to flush the water distribution system.” The EPA will continue sampling the city’s water over the next few days.