On Saturday, January 17, 2015 a pipeline transporting crude oil beneath the Yellowstone Riverbed broke. The break was located six miles upstream of Glendive and spilled approximately 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of oil into the river, a federal official said yesterday. The drinking water source to roughly 6,000 residents of Glendive has been contaminated, as officials have recorded unsafe levels of the carcinogen, benzene. Residents have been urged not to consume tap water and can pick up water from the Eastern Plains Event Center, 313 S. Merrill Ave., from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Pipeline Hazardous Materials Safety Administration confirmed the location of the break, but couldn’t say whether the 12-inch-diameter Bridger pipeline, which began releasing oil into the river Saturday, lay bare on the river bottom.
Bridger Pipeline spokesman Bill Salvin said the break was near the south bank of the river. The cause of the break hasn’t been determined. “We believe the breach is under the riverbed about 50 feet from the south shoreline,” Salvin said. “We are recovering product on the south side, but I don’t know how much.”