Montana officials working on oil-spill response plans after Jan. 17 release into Yellowstone River. Photo courtesy Dawson County, Mont.
GLENDIVE, Mont., Jan. 22 (UPI) -- While Montana officials said a water plant is clear of contaminants, environmental responders advised against eating fish caught near the site of an oil spill.
Bridger Pipeline confirmed a release from its Poplar pipeline system during the weekend. Responders said as much as 1,200 barrels of crude oil spilled near the Yellowstone River.
Montana Gov. Steve Bullock issued an emergency declaration for counties impacted by the release and called on residents to use bottled water after oil was found to have spilled into area drinking water supplies.
Authorities in Dawson County, the site of the spill, said the region's water treatment plant has been decontaminated.
"Preliminary sampling shows all of the contaminants that were elevated in water samples earlier this week are now below federal clean water standards," the county said in a late Wednesday statement.
If further testing confirms the drinking water is safe, responders will start telling residents how to flush their water systems for regular use.
Meanwhile, the state's fish and wildlife department issued a consumption advisory for fish pulled from the Yellowstone River since the Jan. 17 spill. Data show petroleum compounds can linger in fish for at least 40 days after a spill.
Anglers are called on to donate fish caught since the spill to state officials for laboratory testing.
State officials estimate about 960 barrels of oil was released into the Yellowstone River. About 1,200 barrels of oil spilled into the river in 2011 when the Silvertip pipeline, operated by Exxon Mobile, ruptured.