Quantcast
Energy
The wellhead has cracked along the length of the pipe. It's believed the crack formed in December when the well was shut in over the winter. EPA

1,400 Tons of Contaminated Soil Hauled From Montana Reservation Oil Spill Site

Trucks have removed more than 1,400 tons of contaminated soil following a large oil spill on the Fort Peck Reservation in Montana, The Billings Gazette reported.

Cleanup is still ongoing. So far, more than 50 large dump trucks full of soil have been removed with more to come, the publication noted.


An estimated 600 barrels of oil and 90,000 barrels of brine (production water) leaked from an Anadarko Minerals Inc. wellhead that was shut in and last inspected in December. It is believed that the wellhead might have frozen and cracked over the winter, leading to the spill.

The spill was discovered on April 27 by a farmer doing a flyover in the area. The exact date of the release is unclear.

The wellhead is located near Lustre, in the central region of the Fort Peck Reservation. Oil and brine from the leak traveled roughly 200 yards downhill to a stock pond used by tribal entities to water livestock. About three to six inches of oil sat on top of the water.

Oil pooled below the well pad in a drainage leading towards a stock dam.EPA

Fort Peck Reservation, which lies north of the Missouri River, is home to members of the Sioux and Assiniboine nations. Many members adamantly oppose the proposed Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline and its potential to endanger their water supply.

A May 2 press release from the tribes stated that the spill further reinforces tribal officials' opposition to the KXL and pipeline development on or near the reservation.

Floyd Azure, chairman of the Fort Peck Tribes, stated the spill is further indication of the detrimental effects oil production can have on the environment and is yet another threat to the tribes' water quality.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is overseeing cleanup operations for the reservation.

"On May 7, 2018, [Anadarko Minerals Inc.] received approval to proceed with excavation of the oil and brine contaminated soils along the drainage from the well pad to the stock pond," the EPA said.

"Based on an initial assessment, three to six inches of soil will be removed along the drainage. The excavation will be deeper, up to twelve inches, in the area adjacent to the well pad. The oil and brine emulsion concentrated into a pool of fluid adjacent to the well pad before discharging into the drainage."

Crews are removing oil from the shoreline of the stock pond with high volume, low pressure flushing and raking activities, the EPA said. Flushing and oil removal activities are expected for completion by May 18.

Joyel Dhieux, federal on-scene coordinator for the EPA, told The Billings Gazette that "Anadarko Minerals is still evaluating options for the cleanup of brine in the stock pond." The Oklahoma-based oil and gas company is required to pay for the cleanup costs.

Officials confirmed to the EPA there are no known impacts to downstream water users.

The EPA said that the flow of oil has been stopped and response teams are focused on recovering oil at the spill site.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
PxHere

Do You Know Where Your Meat Comes From?

By Ronnie Cummins

Consumers know if the tomatoes they buy in the supermarket were imported from Mexico. They know if the sweater they purchased was made in Vietnam.

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Pexels

More Than Good Looks: Try These 10 Edible Flowers

By Brian Barth

Eating flowers seems almost heretical. If plants could talk, wouldn't they say, you can look, even sniff, but please don't chow down on my pretty petals? The dainty apple flower, after all, is what gives way to the fruit, and thus the seed, ensuring the cycle of life continues. Do you dare give into the temptation to pluck it for food?

Keep reading... Show less
Food
Indie Ecology / Instagram

Table-to-Farm-to-Table: Startup Grows Food for Restaurants With Kitchen Leftovers

Food, as we know, is a terrible thing to waste. Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption gets lost or wasted every year. But what if we could use food waste to create more food?

That's the elegantly full-circle idea behind Indie Ecology, a West Sussex food waste farm that collects leftovers from some of London's best restaurants and turns it into compost. The nutrient-rich matter is then used to grow high quality produce for the chefs to cook with. Call it table-to-farm-to-table—and again and again.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
Pexels

China’s Global Infrastructure Initiative Could Bring Environmental Catastrophe

By Nexus Media, with William F. Laurance

Humans are ravaging tropical forests by hunting, logging and building roads and the threats are mounting by the day.

China is planning a series of massive infrastructure projects across four continents, an initiative that conservation biologist William Laurance described as "environmentally, the riskiest venture ever undertaken."

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Energy
Alaska's Kenai Fjords National Park, which was impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill, could be harmed again if expanded offshore drilling plans go through. National Park Service

Trump’s Offshore Drilling Plan Puts 68 National Parks at Risk

Sixty-eight National Parks along the coastal U.S. could be in danger from devastating oil spills if President Donald Trump's plan to open 90 percent of coastal waters to offshore oil drilling goes through, a report released Wednesday by the Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Parks Conservation Association found.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
E. coli. The World Health Organizations says antibiotic resistance is "one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Climate Change Could Supercharge Threat of Antibiotic Resistance: Study

By Andrea Germano

The World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have previously sounded alarms about the growing issue of antibiotic resistance—a problem already linked to overprescribing of antibiotics and industrial farming practices. Now, new research shows a link between warmer temperatures and antibiotic resistance, suggesting it could be a greater threat than previously thought on our ever-warming planet.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Renewable Energy
Powerwall residential battery with solar panels. Tesla

Tesla's Massive Virtual Power Plant in South Australia Roars Back to Life

Tesla's plans to build the world's largest virtual power plant in South Australia will proceed after all.

The $800 million (US $634 million) project—struck in February by Tesla CEO Elon Musk and former South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill—involves installing solar panels and batteries on 50,000 homes to function as an interconnected power plant.

Keep reading... Show less
Climate
A French lavender farmer is part of the group suing the EU for more ambitious emissions targets, saying climate change threatens his crop. Iamhao / CC BY-SA 3.0

10 Families Bring First Ever 'People’s Climate Case' Against the EU

Ten families from Fiji, Kenya and countries across Europe who are already suffering the effects of climate change filed a case against the EU Wednesday in a bid to force the body to increase its commitments under the Paris agreement, AFP reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!