Monday, December 5, 2022

Local Trucking Company Agrees to Pay $71,967 Penalty After Three Crashes on Hwy 20 Result in Spills

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An ambulance and crew at the scene of a crash by Clear Lake in April of 2020. [Crop of a photo by John Winter]
An ambulance and crew at the scene of a crash by Clear Lake in April of 2020. [Crop of a photo by John Winter]

Local company, Steve Wills Trucking and Logging LLC, had three major crashes on Hwy 20 between January of 2020 and December of 2021 which resulted in raw milk spilling into waterways. One of which resulted in the death of a driver. Yesterday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced a settlement with the company.

According to a press release from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [yesterday] announced a settlement with the owner and operator of Steve Wills Trucking and Logging LLC to resolve claims of violations of the Clean Water Act. Tanker trucks transporting milk from the Steve Wills facility near Fortuna, California, were involved in three separate driving incidents, all of which resulted in discharges of raw milk into waterways. One of the three incidents resulted in the death of a driver.

“Improper transport of goods can negatively impact waterways and compromise the safety of workers,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman. “When companies fail to manage substances that have the potential to impact waterways the local community, environment, and worker safety is put in danger.”

On January 19, 2020, a tanker truck carrying raw milk on Highway 20 near Glenhaven, CA overturned down an embankment and released raw milk into Clear Lake. On April 12, 2020, a second incident took place when a truck on Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks, CA overturned down an embankment and released raw milk into Clear Lake. Finally, on December 11, 2021, a truck on Highway 20 east of Lance Road in Lake County overturned down an embankment into Grizzly Creek, a tributary of Cache Creek.

Drivers were cited for the January 19 and April 12, 2020, incidents. The third incident is still pending the results of an ongoing investigation.

Steve Wills Trucking and Logging agreed to a penalty in the amount of $71,967 to resolve claims that the company discharged to Waters of the United States without a permit, which is a violation of the Clean Water Act.

U.S. law requires the safe management of materials to protect public health, the environment, and limit the need for costly and extensive cleanups. It is unlawful to discharge pollutants into Waters of the United States, except as authorized by a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit issued under the Clean Water Act.

For more information on reporting possible violations of environmental laws and regulations visit EPA’s enforcement reporting website.

Learn more about EPA’s Pacific Southwest Region. Connect with us on Facebook and on Twitter.

The crumpled big rig lay partially in Clear Lake after the crash.

The crumpled big rig from the January 19, 2020 crash lay on the shore of Clear Lake. [Photo provided by Northshore Firefighters]

Earlier:

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