As a followup to the Yellowstone River oil spill story,
here’s the latest on testing of fish sampled below the source of
BILLINGS, MT – Laboratory analysis of fish
collected in the Yellowstone River below the site of a July 1 oil
spill show no detectible petroleum in consumable fillet tissues.
Traces of petroleum hydrocarbons found in reproductive and
digestive organs leave questions about the long-term health of the
Crude oil spilled into the river when ExxonMobil Pipeline Co.’s
12-inch Silvertip Pipeline broke beneath the flooding Yellowstone
River near Laurel. Oil pollution in varying quantities has been
detected on the river’s bed, shores, debris, vegetation and islands
downstream as far as the confluence with the Bighorn River near
Custer. Cleanup is ongoing.
The oil spill prompted a July advisory against eating fish caught
the Yellowstone River between Park City and Custer, pending
In July Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists collected
long-nose suckers, rainbow trout and smallmouth bass between Laurel
and Billings and below the Huntley Diversion Dam. Fillet tissue,
gonads and livers from the fish were sent to a laboratory for
Fillet tissues were tested to reflect any effect on human health
from fish consumption. Reproductive and digestive organs were
tested to help measure any cumulative, long-term health effects on
Laboratory results released this week show no detectable
hydrocarbons – or oil residues – in any of the fish fillet samples.
Trace amounts of hydrocarbons were found in the organs of some
Additional information about the oil spill is available online from
the State of Montana at www.yellowstoneriveroilspill.mt.gov.