Results expected soon from oil-tainted soil sample tests

By ROB ROGERS Of The Gazette Staff I Posted: Saturday, July 30, 201112:00 am

The Environmental Protection Agency has conditionally signed offon ExxonMobil's work plan for cleanup of the July 1 oil spill in the Yellowstone River. Exxon included in this latest draft comments and additions made by state and federal agencies. Full approval from the EPA will come on Aug. 8 when Exxon submits a letter stating that the company will comply with the changes. "We're making good progress, said Steve Merritt, EPA's on-scene coordinator for the spill. The EPA has given Exxon the deadline of Sept. 9 to finish the initial phase of the cleanup. That means that all sites identified by survey teams should be cleaned and certified clean by the September deadline.

Merritt said work on the sites was progressing and that while the deadline is there, work is "conditions-based, not time­ based." They'll be on site until the spill is cleaned up, he said. Officials expect that results from the first batch of soil tests will be released by Wednesday or Thursday of next week. Delays in testing results from water and soil samples taken from property owners along the river have been a point of frustration for officials and members of the public.