RESTON, Va. — A new U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) report shows serious drinking water contamination caused by oil production in Montana, according to an article on Switchboard, the Natural Resources Defense Council Staff Blog.

The report is part of an ongoing USGS investigation of groundwater contamination surrounding the East Poplar oil field, noted the article.

Nearly 18 square miles of the aquifer studied was contaminated with brine co-produced with oil, the article reported, and these shallow aquifers are the only source of drinking water in the area.

This contaminated produced water, continued the article, could contain hydrocarbons, heavy metals and naturally occurring radioactive material in addition to salt levels sometimes higher than seawater.

According to the article, as a result of the contamination, which has affected the groundwater supplies of more than 3,000 people, the city of Poplar had to build a pipeline to bring in drinking water from the Missouri River.

Read the full article here.