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Pipeline breach spills oil into southern Utah’s San Juan River

A small oil spill contaminated the San Juan River after a gathering line ruptured near the southern Utah community of Montezuma Creek early Friday.

About 28 barrels of produced water and crude oil were released by the time the pipeline operator, Elk Petroleum, could stop the leak on federal land, according to Kevin Okleberry, spills coordinator with the Utah Division of Water Quality. The ruptured pipeline collects production liquids from several wells in the Greater Aneth Oil Field.

The failure released hydrocarbons into a wash that was flowing at the time with snowmelt, pushing the material into the San Juan.