Fuel spills into Palouse River

By Anthony Kuipers; Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Containment booms are seen Tuesday in the south fork of the Palouse River in Pullman, after approximately 1,200 gallons of “red dye” diesel spilled Monday from a failed above-ground fuel storage tank at Four Star Supply. Zach Wilkinson/Daily News.

Cleanup efforts continued Tuesday after approximately 1,200 gallons of diesel spilled into the south fork of the Palouse River on Monday in Pullman.

According to a Washington Department of Ecology news release, an above-ground fuel storage tank at Four Star Supply developed a crack and leaked the “red dye” diesel into the water.

Fuel and sheening was observed 1,000 feet downriver from the source.

Four Star Supply pumped remaining fuel from the tank, which has a 10,000-gallon capacity, and initiated nearby cleanup and protective measures when the spill was found.

The Department of Ecology is working alongside a Spokane-based cleanup response contractor to clean the river and the surrounding soil. The crews are using a containment boom and pads to contain and absorb the fuel.

Joye Redfield-Wilder, spokeswoman for the Department of Ecology, said the cleanup could take a few days.

The facility is located on one side of the river and the elevated aboveground tanks are on the adjacent side with a transfer line running from one side of the bank to the other. The Department of Ecology says red dye diesel is non-taxed fuel used on farms and is dyed red to identify it as such.

Four Star Supply declined to comment on the matter.

Redfield-Wilder said that Four Star Supply could face penalties depending on an investigation. She said above-ground storage tanks are common in Eastern Washington and it is important the integrity of these tanks are tested and monitored, especially if they are near a river or creek.

She said that a spill from a 10,000 tank like the one at Four Star Supply had the potential to be “catastrophic.”

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