News release on the Yellowstone River spill incident

The following is a status update on the Yellowstone River Spill incident from the Unified Command, which includes Phillips 66, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the City of Billings Emergency Operations Center, Billings Fire Department, Montana Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

Current response status:

As of 12 p.m. MDT on August 20, 2019, a tank failure resulted in a release of 137,000 barrels of crude oil. It has been confirmed 10,000 barrels entered the Yellowstone River. There are 150 responders on site and 1,800 feet of boom has been deployed in the Yellowstone River as of 7 p.m. Tuesday night. A significant amount of released crude oil has already been recovered. Fifty vacuum trucks are now collecting oil from the river to be returned to the Refinery for safe processing.

Air monitoring continues by Phillips 66 at the refinery and by third-party services limited to the affected area near the damaged storage tank. All monitoring continues to indicate an improvement in air quality. Monitoring will continue to protect the community.

Montana Women’s Prison, Grains of Montana Bakery, and the main Post Office Building at 841 South 22nd street have been notified that their essential personnel may return to work. Employees should contact their employers for further direction.

Interstate 90 is now open. The public is requested to refrain from entering areas near the refinery and affected waterways so as not to impede response efforts.

Phillips 66 is partnering with Wildlife Trustees regarding the incident and wildlife specialists have been deployed to evaluate and respond to the situation.

More information is available at A news briefing will be held by Unified Command at Double Tree Hotel, Billings, MT later today at 3 p.m. MDT.

The following priorities are continuing to guide this response:

• Safety of public and response personnel
• Spill containment to protect environmentally sensitive areas.

The public and media can find the latest response information at or call the Media / Community Line at 832-765-0246.