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Yellowstone River Contaminated by Oil Spill [VIDEO]

The oil spill in Yellowstone river is far downstream from legendary trout fishery.

Residents of Glendive, Montana can drink tap water once again after the town water treatment plant came back online. They were forced to use bottled water after a 40,000 gallon crude oil spill into the Yellowstone River caused the plant to shut down on Jan. 18.

A 60-year-old pipeline owned and operated by Bridger Pipeline of Casper, Wyoming, ruptured on Jan. 17. Recovery of the spilled crude has been hampered by ice on the river. An EPA spokesman speculated very little of the oil might ever be recovered.


Glendive is over 250 miles northeast and downstream of the famed trout waters around Livingston. The Yellowstone is wider, slower and warmer in the Glendive area. Trout are scarce, but a decent pike, bass, walleye and carp fishery exists for fly anglers in the area. That much oil can’t be good for anything in the river.

This spill isn’t the first in the Yellowstone area. In 2011, an Exxon Mobil pipeline break spilled 63,000 gallons of crude into the river near Laurel. Coincidentally, Exxon Mobil was assessed a $1 million fine for safety violations related to that release about a week after this spill.

That spill had impacts as far down stream as 85 miles. So far, no traces of oil have been detected downstream in Williston, North Dakota. Williston lies at the upper end of Lake Sakakawea and is famous for its walleye fishery.

Sonar indicates the pipeline, which is required by federal law to be buried at least four feet below the river bottom, is now above the riverbed. The pipeline in the Glendive area was installed in the 1950s.

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Yellowstone River Contaminated by Oil Spill [VIDEO]