Diesel spill threatens Alaska's Iliamna River

An estimated 2,500 gallons of diesel spilled on the ground within a few dozen feet of a Southwest Alaska river after a tractor-trailer truck accident.

The truck, lugging a 9,500-gallon fuel tank for a village's use, was headed down the Pile Bay Road toward Iliamna on Friday. As the tank was being unhitched from the truck, it rolled down an incline and ruptured, regulators said. Workers plugged the hole in the tank and piled up mounds of dirt that kept the diesel from running directly into the Iliamna River. Workers stopped the leading edge of the spill 25 feet from the river, state regulators said Monday, citing a report from Alaska State Troopers.

"It's a good-sized spill," said John Brown, a DEC environmental specialist. "We are very concerned about it being so close to the river." Brown estimated that the diesel spread over an area measuring 15 feet by 200 feet. "It just goes right into the soil, and if it isn't cleaned up, it goes to the water table and then to the river," he said.

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