Tri States Public Radio Staff
20k gallons of corn syrup spilled in S.R.
Sun September 29, 2013
IL EPA Wants AG to Take Action in Spoon River Spill
The Illinois EPA wants law enforcement action against the owners of a railway which spilled thousands of gallons of corn syrup into a river in Fulton County last week.
Three railcars owned by the Keokuk Junction Railway fell off a bridge into the Spoon River, spilling 20 thousand gallons of corn syrup.
A fish kill was reported ten miles downstream of the derailment, near the ton of Bernadotte.
Now the IEPA wants the Illinois Attorney General’s office to require the railway and its parent company, to provide more information about the spill, clean up contaminated soil from the river bank, and to continue operating aerators, which were installed to keep more fish from dying.
IEPA Spokesman Andrew Mason, said this may be just the beginning of the agency’s involvement.
"The investigation is still ongoing and as we get more sample results and we get more information from the companies, we could pursue additional violations depending on what we find," Mason said.
Water samples are being taken to assess the long term impact of the spill. The IEPA’s goal is for the AG’s office to issue an order to mandate the Keokuk Junction Railway clean up the spill and pay a civil penalty for its environmental violations related to it.
The Iowa DNR is also issuing a warning that because of low river levels, fish are especially vulnerable to spills. This follows four fish kills as the result of spills of different materials across the state this month.
A DNR Fish Biologist said the substance that is spilled is not the main cause of many fish deaths, but when the material breaks down it takes oxygen out of the water, suffocating fish.
Charge will help finance project