ExxonMobil Pipeline Company said the Unified Command cleanup operations continued Saturday following a release of oil into the Yellowstone River on July 1.
Under the direction of the Unified Command, almost 600 people are now involved in the response and cleanup effort including ExxonMobil’s North America Regional Response Team, the Clean Harbors and ER oil spill response organizations and additional contractors.
“We have deployed almost 33,000 feet of boom and approximately 160,000 absorbent pads to clean up oil adjacent to the river. Deployment will continue to focus on the highest priority areas to reduce environmental impact. Thirty-nine boats are available for deployment on the river when conditions permit,” ExxonMobil said.
The EPA is leading the Unified Command Center cleanup activities and conducting ongoing air and water quality monitoring. Ongoing air quality monitoring has confirmed there is no danger to public health. Municipal water systems continue to be monitored by the EPA; no reports of impacts have been received to date.
COMMUNITY OUTREACH AND CLAIMS UPDATE
Direct contact with those impacted by the spill continues. To date, ExxonMobile said it has received 285 calls from the community.
“Our team is responding to approximately 100 claims related to property, agriculture or health, and these claims are being resolved as quickly as possible. More than 100 calls have been from people offering volunteer assistance. We appreciate the support of the Billings community as we work to restore the area,” the company said, adding that “Our commitment is to make every effort to respond to the concerns of each individual within 24 hours. Additionally, we are increasing our on-the-ground response team to work directly with people who have been affected.”
To address individual health concerns, teams of trained environmental specialists are conducting air and water quality testing. Those who may have been affected are encouraged to use the community information line (1-888-382-0043).
WILDLIFE ASSESSMENT AND RECOVERY
ExxonMobil said it continues to work with International Bird Rescue (IBR), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to survey the area for impacts to wildlife. Members of the team are surveying the affected areas of the river for oiled wildlife.
“We are also inspecting the property of landowners who have called the community or wildlife hotlines regarding impacted wildlife on their property,” the company said.
The total number of treated wildlife is two, a garter snake and a western toad, which were treated and released. In addition, several lightly oiled birds were previously observed; none required capture or cleaning.
Today, two boats are scheduled to go out onto the slack, or shallow, water to continue to search for any additional wildlife that may have been affected by the incident. Aerial helicopter surveys were also completed from the spill site to just downstream of Razor Creek. Several oiled Canada Geese were identified in today’s survey and reported to IBR.