Bridger Pipeline LLC, the company responsible for a 30 000 gallon oil spill into Montana’s Yellowstone River, will try to remove its breached pipeline as regulators investigate the cause of the accident that contaminated downstream water supplies.
The broken section of pipeline will be pulled from the river by divers, then sent to a laboratory for a metallurgical analysis as required under a federal order, Bridger Pipeline spokesman Bill Salvin has announced.
Only about 2500 gallons of crude were recovered from the river. It was the second large spill into the Yellowstone since 2011, renewing calls for pipelines to be buried more deeply at river crossings.
Bridger’s Poplar pipeline carries oil from the Bakken region of Montana and North Dakota. The damaged section was installed in 1967, in an 8 ft trench dug into the river bottom, according to documents submitted to regulators.
A closer examination of the damaged section could help explain why it failed.
Officials are investigating whether high waters or an ice jam on the river last year near the spill site played a role in the breach.
Edited from various sources by Elizabeth Corner
Sources: Great Falls Tribune, NBC Montana