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Glendive Oil Spill Clean Up Continues; Drinking Water Advisory In Effect

Truckloads of drinking water are on their way to Glendive where a weekend oil spill along the Yellowstone River may have contaminated the community's water supply.

About 6,000 residents are advised to not drink or cook with city water. Up to 50,000 gallons of crude may have spilled when a Bridger Pipeline Company component failed Saturday morning. Officials say preliminary tests show at least some of the oil got into the city water treatment plant.

The pipeline failure happened at the bottom of local rancher Dena Hoff's pasture. The Hoffs were in and out of town all weekend long.

 "The first I heard about it was when one of my friend's sons called and said that he couldn't take a shower yesterday because of the oil spill into the river. I wasn't aware until I got home last night at about 9:30 that it was our pipeline that he was speaking about right at the bottom of our pasture and I saw all the lights of all the vehicles that were down there. You could smell the oil."

Some of the oil is trapped under the ice. Hoff says that's going to complicate the cleanup effort:

"I don't understand how they can even launch a cleanup when there's ice on the river - lots of ice on the river. I don't know how they're going to clean that up."

 Governor Steve Bullock visited Glendive yesterday to survey the damage. Bullock's spokesman, Dave Parker, says the governor will hold the company financially accountable for any and all damages associated with the spill.

Rancher Dena Hoff is counting on that promise. She describes the spill as a "big deal".

"Because we're talking about toxic stuff and its impact on the environment: on humans, on animals, on insects, on soil, on air, on water quality - on everything. It is a big deal and they shouldn't wonder why people are so leery of having pipelines cross their property or cross rivers and streams from where they live."

Edward O’Brien first landed at Montana Public Radio three decades ago as a news intern while attending the UM School of Journalism. He covers a wide range of stories from around the state.  
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