LAKE COUNTY, Mont. — The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced 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, according to a press release.
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., noted the release.
“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, stated the release.
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.
Read the entire press release here.