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Crash spills deicing chemical into Clarks Fork

Feb 12, 2013 - The Associated Press

BILLINGS, Mont. -- An estimated 5,000 gallons of a chemical used to deice roads spilled into the Clarks Fork River, killing dozens of fish, after a semitrailer crash Monday near the Montana-Wyoming border.

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality said two tankers being pulled by the semi and carrying magnesium chloride went into the river along Montana Highway 72, two miles north of the Wyoming border.

One of the tankers broke open, spilling its entire contents.

The other tanker did not leak and was safely removed, the DEQ said.

Public water suppliers downstream of the crash site, including in Billings and Lockwood, were notified of the spill in case the chemical plume threatens drinking water systems. The Clarks Fork, a tributary of the Yellowstone River, flows north from Wyoming into Montana.

Dozens of dead fish were found near the crash site by emergency crews, authorities said.

Wildlife workers patrolled the banks of the river looking for additional damages.

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