EPA says no toxic chemicals found in Montana river after ExxonMobil oil spill

Following an oil spill from ExxonMobil Pipeline Co., water in Montana’s Yellowstone River is safe and shows no elevated levels for volatile organic compounds, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Further data was made available following testing and monitoring conducted last week by the EPA.

Meanwhile, as the second week of oil spill cleanup begins, staff members with the EPA say they are optimistic about receding water levels in the river, which will allow access to previously inaccessible portions.

“We are continuing to do air sampling and are ramping up water sampling in domestic wells,” said Steve Merritt, EPA on-scene coordinator.

“We want to screen every drinking water well within the heaviest affected area between Laurel and Billings as quickly as possible and move down river from there.”

There are hundreds of wells in the area, and EPA’s testing priority is domestic drinking water wells to protect human health, it said.

As such, EPA will initially screen wells that provide drinking water at homes and businesses in the impacted area.

As part of the requirements of an order issued by EPA to ExxonMobil on July 6, ExxonMobil has delivered a draft work plan to EPA.

The work plan contains seven key elements, and EPA has determined that 3 of those elements are incomplete and need technical clarification and scope of work definition.

EPA has presented details on deficiencies to ExxonMobil and expects a response within one week, it said.

The EPA said it is also working to complete a Pollution Removal Funding Authorization (PRFA) for Montana Fish Wildlife and Game (MFWG).

This will allow MFWG to participate in the shoreline assessments and final shoreline cleanup approval.

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