Barge Spilled Liquid Fertilizer into Snake River
by Annette Cary
PASCO, WA -- Tidewater Barge Lines has been fined $18,000 for spilling liquid urea ammonium nitrate into the Snake and Columbia rivers.
One of the spills was into the Snake at the Tidewater Snake River Terminal in Pasco.
Washington Department of Ecology investigators determined that 16,639 gallons of urea ammonium nitrate were released from a corroding storage tank of a barge over 10 days last spring.
The Department of Ecology said there were three spills from two of Tidewater's steel tank barges in April 2017. The agency announced the fine on Monday.
"These spills were preventable through proper maintenance of the barges," said Rich Doenges, Ecology's water quality section manager.
The liquid fertilizer quickly dispersed in the river water, but still poses the risk of stimulating plant and algae growth that can be harmful to fish and wildlife, he said.
The other two spills happened on the Columbia River near Vancouver.
Ecology said 22,104 gallons of liquid fertilizer leaked out of a corroded storage tank of Barge No. 74. Barge No. 78 leaked at the Pasco terminal.
The third spill also was from Barge No. 74. Ecology said damage to the barge's side shell caused 950 gallons of liquid fertilizer to leak into the river.
Urea Ammonium nitrate is corrosive to steel.
Tidewater has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal it.
It also must take action to prevent future spills and give Ecology an annual management plan covering cleaning and inspection processes to ensure the integrity of the barge tanks' steel plates and welds.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs