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Red dye diesel spills to south fork of Palouse River


Approximately 1,200 gallons of “red dye” diesel spilled to the south fork of the Palouse River when an above-ground fuel storage tank failed at Four Star Supply. The spill was discovered Monday morning by the company.

Fuel and sheening was observed 1,000 feet down river from the source.

Department of Ecology spill responders were able to deploy protective boom at various locations along the river in an attempt to collect recoverable fuel. The facility hired a cleanup response contractor out of Spokane. Containment boom was deployed around the source location as fuel continues to leach from the soil directly below the tank.

The company pumped remaining fuel from the tank, which has a 10,000 gallon capacity, and initiated nearby cleanup and protective measures when the spill was found.

The facility is located on one side of the river and the elevated aboveground tanks are on the adjacent side with a transfer line running from one side of the bank to the other.  The loss of fuel is believed to be due to a crack in the bottom of the fuel tank and not the transfer line.

“Aging above-ground storage tanks can be a concern across Eastern Washington, where many farms store red-dye diesel for their operations,” said Sam Hunn, Ecology’s regional spill response manager. “We hope farms and farm supply groups take this as a cautionary prompt to routinely test the integrity of their tanks.”

Ecology plans to be onsite today to continue to assess the situation. Red dye diesel is non-taxed fuel used on-farm and is dyed red to identify it as such. It can be clearly visibile in the water.