Coleman Oil Fined More Than $189,000 For Biodiesel Spill

Coleman Oil Fined More Than $189,000 For Biodiesel Spill

First Noticed March 2017

LEWISTON, ID – Coleman Oil has been fined $189,000 for spilling 3,840 gallons of biodiesel plus more than $213,000 for cleanup costs.  The Washington Department of Ecology says it came from a corroded underground pipe at its bulk oil plant in Wenatchee.

The DOE says the fuel contaminated nearby soil and groundwater, seeping into the Columbia River, creating a visible sheen that appeared off and on for more than a year.  The leak turned the property into a toxic cleanup site.

The DOE first responded to the site when the sheen was reported in March 2017.  They tested the water and identified the pollutant as biodiesel.  It was then traced back to the Coleman Oil facility near the river.

Coleman Oil has been cited for negligence and not monitoring levels in the 20,000-gallon storage tank connected to the corroded pipe. 

DOE Spills Program Manager Dale Jensen says “This spill happened over a long period of time and impacted the health of the river system…It could easily have been prevented if the company had been properly monitoring the fuel level in that tank.”

The press release says Coleman Oil has been cooperative throughout the spill response process and has worked with the DOE on cleanup.

In addition to the citation fines, plus the cleanup reimbursement costs, Coleman Oil faces a resource damage assessment, which may be an environmental restoration or enhancement project, or payment into a fund that handles those projects.  The total combined penalties are expected to be more than $1 million.

Those funds will go into the state’s Coastal Protection Fund.

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