Yellowstone Oil Spill on Water Wednesday

| January 21, 2015

texas fly fishing water conservation #flyfishing

conservation awareness for fly fishers

There’s not much good news, and hasn’t been, when it comes to Wednesday water woes. We know all about our own regional woes here in the huge State of Texas, but as you may recall; we don’t just talk Texas water on Wednesday.


Today, news reports tell us that 50-thousand gallons of “oil” are spilled (out of a pipeline) into the Yellowstone River. As I was driving back from work at A&P last night, I was wondering how to put into perspective those gallons.

A barrel of oil contains 42 gallons, and that translates into 1190 barrels in the Yellowstone.
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Those round frac water trucks you see running our North Texas roads are allowed to carry about 230 barrels.
A frac water tank – those big empty rectangular boxes you see being pulled around empty, low wheels in back – holds 500 barrels, or 21-thousand gallons.This much oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico would hardly be a drop in a bucket.

Pipelines can carry lots of different things. “Oil” in this case is crude oil according to reports, and has been spotted as far as twenty-five miles down the partially frozen river – from its origin near Glendive, close to the Montana-North Dakota border.

The ruptured Bridger pipeline carries Bakken crude, supposedly eight feet underneath the Yellowstone, and was built when Eisenhower was President.

From what I have read, the ice is slowing the oil’s progress, but also provides unique cleanup problems. The Yellowstone is also a supply for drinking water, and signs of water contamination have caused a ban on drinking tap water.

You may recall a spill into the Yellowstone in 2011 of similar size. Only last year was the cleanup declared complete by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality.

What you may not realize in all this, is that Texas has plenty of regulations regarding the reporting of oil spills – pipeline and otherwise. And the size of what constitutes “a spill” isn’t as Texas-sized as you may have imagined.

However, many of Texas’ spills happen on private land. Although they are reported, and inspected, they never see the light of the news day.

READ MORE at The Billings Gazette


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Category: Science and Environmental, Texas Water Conservation

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