Joaqlin Estus, KNBA – Anchorage
Fuel sales and distribution company Crowley Maritime Corporation has contractors on site in the village of Aniak cleaning up a jet fuel spill of some 23,000 gallons. Villagers fear contamination of the Kuskokwim River but Crowley says an impermeable liner and bermed tank farm are keeping it contained.
Bethel-based Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation specialist Bob Carlson says the leak is sizable considering Crowley says it occurred over 24 or so hours. A DEC situation report states that Crowley reported fuel was unloaded from a 220,000 gallon tank on Monday and the spill was discovered on Tuesday.
Crowley spokesperson Mark Miller says they’ve hired contractors who have 11 people at work on the cleanup.
However, Carlson says the cleanup collected a small amount of fuel on Wednesday so it’s hard to say how long it will take.
Village of Aniak chief Wayne Morgan says he’s concerned because of the tank farm’s location:
Miller says the spill is contained within a polymer liner and an eight-foot-high berm. He says the containment area is sloped to a central low point where the cleanup crew has hoses and pumps moving the spilled jet fuel into a 30,000 gallon tank that’s kept standing empty just in case it’s needed for such an event.
Morgan says he hopes Miller’s right and the liner and berm will hold and won’t let any of the fuel seep into the Kuskokwim.
Carlson says he’ll go to Aniak Friday to monitor the cleanup.
Miller says the cleanup contractors are monitoring air quality every 30 minutes and have found it within safe standards. He says the cause of the leak from a 223,000 gallon tank is under investigation.
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