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Oil spill near Bemidji still producing research discoveries decades later

BEMIDJI, Minn. (AP) -- The site of one of the largest crude oil pipeline spills in Minnesota is still producing significant discoveries for researchers three decades later.

A Lakehead Co. pipeline split northwest of Bemidji on Aug. 20, 1979 and released about 440,000 gallons of crude oil. Today, the site attracts scientists from around the world who are collecting data from sensors that sample soil, water and air.

Scientists are working to learn more about oil-eating microbes. The research could help improve future oil spills.

Enbridge Inc. has provided financial support for the research site. The company owns five pipelines that run through the area. Funding also comes from the U.S. Geological Survey, from academic researchers and other sources.

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