Category Archives: spills

[NEWS] Kentucky Biodiesel Leak Suffocates Thousands of Fish

– by Trey Crumbie, December 1, 2016, Lexington Herald Leader


Little Eagle Creek (Trey Crumbie)

Thousands of fish have been killed by 3,000 gallons of biodiesel that leaked into a river from a truck stop in Kentucky, US.

The diesel leaked into Little Eagle Creek near Sadieville in early to mid-November from a branch of the national Love’s Travel Stop chain of truck stops.

Jack Donovan, director of the Georgetown/Scott County Emergency Management Agency, told Lexington Herald Leader that the agency receive a notification of the leak on 18 November, but some locals said they had noticed the leak up to two week prior.

The cleanup of the leak, the exactly source of which has not bee determined, is in progress and will take a “long time”.

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[NEWS] Gainesville, FL Biomass Facility Spills 9,000 Gallons of Wastewater

– October 3, 2016, Gainesville Sun


Gainesville Renewable Energy Center (Photo: GRU)

The Gainesville Renewable Energy Center, or GREC, announced late Monday afternoon that it accidentally discharged some 9,000 gallons of industrial-process water onto the ground.

The water, which contained a higher concentration of minerals than the water the plant uses to make power, spilled because of a power outage that led to an equipment failure at the biomass plant, according to a report by Alachua County’s Environmental Protection Department.

The 9,225 gallons would ordinarily have been pumped to a cooling tower basin, but instead mostly flowed to a storm water retention pond, company officials said.

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[NEWS] The Standoff Between Big Oil and Big Corn

– by David Gelles, September 17, 2016, New York Times


Cartoon: Minh Uong

A decade ago, lawmakers in Washington tried to address a trifecta of thorny challenges with one simple fix that has turned out to be anything but easy to assess.

The problems: an overreliance on foreign oil, rising greenhouse gas emissions and tepid economic growth.

The solution: the Renewable Fuel Standard, commonly known as the ethanol mandate. Enacted in 2005 and expanded two years later, the legislation required that refiners blend an increasing amount of biofuel into the gasoline that powers most American cars.

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[NEWS] Enviro Group Hits California Biomass Company With Stormwater Pollution Suit

– by Stan Parker, August 26, 2016, Law 360


Blue Lake Power (

A nonprofit environmental group hit Blue Lake Power LLC with a lawsuit in California federal court Thursday, alleging unchecked stormwater runoff from the biomass facility sends unlawful amounts of pollution into waters that run to the Pacific Ocean.

The Ecological Rights Foundation, which goes by EcoRights, said in the citizen suit that stormwater runoff from the biomass generation facility violated the Clean Water Act by routinely sending high levels of total suspended solids, iron, total organic compounds, biological oxygen demand and chemical oxygen demand into the..

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[NEWS] Minnesota Ethanol Refinery Fined Again for Pollution Violations

– June 22, 2016, Lakeland Broadcasting Company


Photo: Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune

A Faribault County ethanol plant is fined again for environmental violations.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency says the Corn Plus plant in Winnebago has agreed to take a series of corrective actions and pay a penalty of over 39-thousand dollars after regulators found several violations of the plant’s stormwater permit. The permit sets conditions to ensure that the facility’s runoff doesn’t pollute lakes, streams or groundwater.

The M-P-A said Tuesday that some of the violations involve management of water in the plant’s stormwater ponds. Since 2009, state and federal regulators have fined Corn Plus more than one-point-one million dollars for air and water quality violations.

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[NEWS] Ethanol Refinery Owner Pleads Guilty to Tax, Water Violations

– June 16, 2016, KCCI

permeate_refining_logoFederal prosecutors say a northeast Iowa ethanol plant owner has pleaded guilty to failing to pay employment taxes and dumping ethanol into a stream.

Randy Less, of Hopkinton, was charged in January with failing to collect and pay to the government federal income, Social Security and Medicare taxes withheld from the wages of employees of Permeate Refining.

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[NEWS] Whatever Happened to Advanced Biofuels?

– by David Biello, May 26, 2016, Scientific American


Photo: Dupont

The Project Liberty plant is a multi–$100-million effort to get ethanol for cars past the obstacles of food-versus-fuel debates, farmer recalcitrance and, ultimately, fossil fuels. It is also the fruition of a 16-year journey for founder and executive chairman Jeff Broin of ethanol-producing company POET—an odyssey that began with a pilot plant in Scotland, S.D., and progressed through a grant of $105 million from taxpayers via the U.S. Department of Energy (DoE).

The government invested because of hopes that such advanced biofuels could reduce global warming pollution from vehicles compared with gasoline. And making ethanol from inedible parts of corn plants is perhaps better than using the edible starch in corn kernels that could find use as food or feed for animals. “We’re processing about 770 tons a day of corn stover—basically the leftovers from the cornfield—into ethanol,” Broin told me during a tour of POET’s new Project Liberty facility, which makes ethanol from cellulose and is located next to a traditional facility that produces the fuel from the starch in corn kernels. “[It’s] one of the first plants in the world to do that, so we’re pretty excited.”

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[NEWS] Iowa County Vulnerable To Another Biofuel or Oil Rail Spill

– by Associated Press, May 2, 2016, Washington Times



A recent Iowa rail safety study says Dubuque County remains vulnerable to crude oil or biofuels spills more than a year after several railcars carrying ethanol derailed along the Mississippi River.

The state’s Department of Transportation and Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department released the study last week, the Telegraph Herald ( ) reports. It examines each county’s oil and ethanol transportation routes and volumes, previous incidence of spills, derailment and fire, likelihood of future incidents and public safety and environmental risk factors.

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Fire Sparks Concern Over Tennessee Biofuel Refinery

– by Jeni Diprizio, March 18, 2016, Local Memphis



This isn’t the first time Memphis firefighters have been called to the Agrileum plant.

Neighbors say there was a small fire there just a few weeks ago. And in 2014, the facility was under state and county investigation.

Senior investigator Jeni Diprizio was at the plant after a chemical spill. Neighbors have been concerned about the facility for quite some time.

“When it first blew up, we were sitting right here,” recalled Andrew Blanton.

Residents who live near the biofuel plant say it’s been a concern for decades.

“It shouldn’t be here. It should be on Presidents Island or something,” said Ricky Blanton.

They say they are worried about fires and chemical spills.

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[NEWS] Chlorine, Mercury Emissions Under Scrutiny at Oregon Trash Incinerator

– by Tracy Loew, March 12, 2016, Statesman Journal


Photo: Statesman Journal

State environmental regulators are cracking down on the amount of chlorine and mercury Marion County’s waste-to-energy burner discharges to the Willamette River.

Covanta Marion, a subsidiary of New Jersey-based Covanta Energy Corp., operates the garbage incinerator for the county. It burns about 550 tons of municipal waste per day at the facility in Brooks.

Covanta uses well water for flushing built-up minerals from the boiler and cooling tower. That water – about 88,000 gallons per day – then is treated and discharged to a 12-inch pipe that runs six miles into the Willamette River at milepost 71.7, near the Wheatland Ferry.

Covanta’s federal permit to discharge wastewater to the river expired on Nov. 30, 2009. It has been allowed to continue operating under its previous permit because it filed a timely application with the state Department of Environmental Quality, which has been delegated authority over the permits.

DEQ now has proposed a new permit for the facility that addresses both chlorine and mercury.

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