Cleanup Efforts Underway After ExxonMobil Yellowstone River Spill

July 2011, Vol. 238 No. 7

After a spill from an ExxonMobil Pipeline Company oil pipeline along the Yellowstone River on Friday, July 1, the company has released an update on cleanup efforts.

“We have about 440 people actively involved in the response and cleanup efforts and we are making significant progress. Active recovery continues in the zones closest to the spill site but we will go as far downstream as necessary to fully understand what areas are impacted,” said Gary Pruessing, president of ExxonMobil Pipeline.

According to ExxonMobil Pipeline, the following methods are deployed as part of the cleanup effort:
* More than 76,000 feet of absorbent boom is on site, with more than 6,000 feet deployed to clean up oil adjacent to the river; more than 3,300 absorbent pads are on site with more than 1500 deployed.
* Ongoing air quality monitoring conducted has confirmed there is no danger to public health. Municipal water systems are being notified to monitor water quality by the EPA, but no reports of impacts have been received to date. The EPA is also monitoring water quality.
* Daily aerial flights continue over the area to identify additional oil locations and monitor and direct cleanup activity. ExxonMobil says it is also walking the parts of the shorelines where it is safe to do so. Immediate focus is on areas in zones A and B (closest to the spill site) all the way to the South Billings Bridge.
* The unified command is assessing the data on a daily basis and sending responders where they can safely recover oil. Eight boats are staged at Coulson Park for deployment for reconnaissance and monitoring on the river when conditions permit.

Hotline for landowners
* Current efforts are underway to meet with individual landowners who have been affected by the spill. Those who may have been affected are encouraged to use the claims hotline (1-888-382-0043) for more information.
* Claims agents are calling local landowners who have contacted the hotline to notify them of tonight’s EPA meeting.

Wildlife
* ExxonMobil says it has been working with International Bird Rescue and the Montana Fish and Wildlife and Parks Departments to survey the area for impacts to wildlife. Members of the team have been deployed to inspect the property of landowners who have called the claims and wildlife hotlines.
* As of July 6, no wildlife have been collected.
* International Bird Rescue and the Humane Society are staged for immediate response and rehabilitation if needed.

ExxonMobil Pipeline is coordinating the response with the EPA; the U.S. Department of the Interior; the Montana Department of Environmental Quality; U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration; Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks; Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services and Yellowstone County commissioners.

Contact information for claims and wildlife
* Claims hotline: Individuals in the community who might have been impacted by this event are encouraged to contact the claims hotline number (1-888-382-0043).
* Wildlife hotline: Anyone who comes across wildlife that have been impacted by the spill are asked to use the wildlife hotline number (1-800-259-0596)