EPA settles with hauler over diesel spills
The Environmental Protection Agency has reached a settlement with Big State Logistics Inc. over three diesel fuel spills resulting from truck accidents on the Richardson Highway. Big State uses tanker trucks to carry ultra-low sulfur diesel to the North Slope. The accidents involved rollovers of tanker trailers, sometimes referred to as pup tanks.
The trucking company has agreed to pay $43,000 in penalties and to implement new policies for the use of double trailers. The company has stopped the use of double trailers during the months when weather is harshest on the transportation route and has given its drivers the discretion to opt out of double trailer use if roads are judged to be in poor condition.
In each of the accidents involving fuel spills Big State and its contractors responded quickly, conducting fuel recovery and cleaning up the spill site, EPA said.
Two of the accidents involved loss of traction in winter conditions. In one a tanker truck slid when attempting to slow down, to pull into a rest area to remove snow chains: The tanker trailer rolled over an embankment, coming to rest in a channel of the Tsina River, with a puncture in the tank releasing about 339 gallons of diesel fuel. In the second, the tanker truck lost traction when attempting to stop to avoid hunters and wildlife on the road. In this case, the tanker trailer rolled and released 276 gallons of diesel.
The third accident resulted from a failure in the device that couples the tanker trailer to the truck. The subsequent rollover of the tanker trailer resulted in the multiple puncturing of the pup tank and the spilling of about 3,571 gallons of diesel. Big State immediately instituted a change to the equipment on its trailers, EPA said.
- ALAN BAILEY