Lawrence City Commissioner David Penny says he plans to appeal a $2,000 fine levied against his sand company for a fuel spill in the Kansas River in late April.
The Kaw Sand Co., 803 E. Eighth, was fined Sept. 6 by the U.S. Coast Guard for spilling up to 400 gallons of diesel fuel into the Kansas River in East Lawrence on April 30, when a Kaw Sand Co. truck was overfilled, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official said.
Angela Termini, environmental protection assistant at the EPA's regional office in Kansas City, Kan., said the Coast Guard's regional office in St. Louis levied the fine after reviewing records of the spill, which originally were filed by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment and forwarded to the EPA.
Termini, who sent records of the spill to the Coast Guard in May, said the spill was 10 to 50 feet wide near the south shore of the river and traveled 1 to 1 miles downstream and a quarter of a mile upstream.
THE SPILL was cleaned up within a day at a cost of $15,000 to Penny.
Penny said Thursday that he would appeal the fine because his company promptly cleaned up the spill and it had not caused environmental damage to the area.
"We think the fine was excessive," Penny said.
"If there had been negligence or environmental damage on our part this (fine) may have been justified, but I don't think there's any justification for it."
KDHE and EPA officials said the spill did not pose a danger to humans and had no visible effect on wildlife in the area.
Termini said Kaw Sand could have been fined $50 to $5,000 for the spill, based on the type and amount of material spilled.
Penny said the Coast Guard had not given a basis for determining the amount of the fine. He said it may have based the fine on a figure of 400 gallons of diesel fuel spilled, but he thinks the spill was smaller.
"We probably only lost about 150 (gallons)," he said.
ANOTHER area company, the Leavenworth County Co-op Assn., also may be fined by the Coast Guard for an unrelated diesel fuel spill that occurred three days before the Kaw Sand spill.
Up to 900 gallons of diesel fuel were spilled into Slough Creek near Oskaloosa on April 27 when a Leavenworth County Co-op Assn. fuel storage tank was overfilled by a Farmland Industries fuel truck, Termini said. Slough Creek runs into Perry Lake.
The spill near Oskaloosa traveled 5 to 10 miles downstream.
Environmental officials said that spill, which also was cleaned up within days by contractors, did not have a visible effect on humans or the environment.
Termini said the Coast Guard, which is reviewing the spill, has not yet determined whether the Leavenworth County Co-op Assn. will be fined. She said the fine could range from $50 to $5,000.