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Trucking company to pay $83,500 for gasoline spill in Lake County, Montana

Release Date: 05/07/2013
Contact Information: Darcy O’Connor, EPA, 303-312-6392, Matthew Allen, EPA, 303-312-6085,

Penalty marks the final chapter for EPA cleanup action near Flathead Lake from hauling accident

(Denver, Colo., May 7, 2013) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced today that Keller Transportation, Inc. (Keller) has agreed to pay penalties totaling $83,500 to settle Clean Water Act claims related to a 2008 tanker truck spill approximately 500 feet from the shores of Flathead Lake and within the exterior boundaries of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT) of the Flathead Nation. The tanker spill resulted in more than 6,300 gallons of gasoline entering springs along Flathead Lake, impacting groundwater as well as the lake. The proposed settlement addresses violations of the Oil Pollution Act, which prohibits the discharge of oil to waters of the U.S.

“Truck accidents can have a significant impact on the environment and in this case caused a threat to public health,” said Mike Gaydosh, EPA enforcement director in Denver. “This penalty serves as a strong reminder that every effort must be taken to avoid accidents and spills when hauling hazardous materials. EPA will take necessary steps to protect the public.”

The tanker truck accident occurred on April 2, 2008 and was determined to have been caused due to excessive speed around a curve on Montana Highway 35 in Lake County, Montana, resulting in the second tanker trailer striking a rock embankment causing the trailer to rupture. Gasoline from the tanker discharged onto the embankment directly up gradient from Flathead Lake, impacting the seeps, springs, and adjoining shorelines of the Flathead Lake. Fumes from the spill resulted in the evacuation of five homes along the lake for nearly a year.

EPA, in coordination with CSKT, has been working with Keller on the clean up at the site since April 2008. In May 2008 and amended September 2008, EPA issued an administrative order to Keller for the remediation activities that were necessary at the site. Remediation activities have included installation of air abatement systems in the affected homes, ongoing air monitoring, removal and appropriate disposal of contaminated soil, and installation of a groundwater collection trench and permanent water treatment system to treat the contaminated groundwater.

Annual air monitoring has indicated that the abatement systems are working properly as there have been no identified indoor air violations in the affected homes in the past three years. Groundwater sampling shows that the area of contamination is decreasing, but there are still high levels of contamination in the main spill pathway. Keller will continue to operate the water treatment system under the requirements of EPA’s administrative order until such time as EPA determines that appropriate clean up levels have been met. Keller has complied with all the cleanup requests that have been required by EPA.

For more information on the Oil Pollution Act requirements: