The Iowa Department of Natural Resources is investigating an ethanol spill of several thousand gallons outside Iowa Falls today. The D.N.R. says up to 29,000 gallons of ethanol spilled around 3:15 A.M. when a fill pipe apparently did not properly connect to a train car tanker.
The spill happened at the Hawkeye Renewables ethanol plant that’s also known as Iowa Falls Ethanol and was reported to the state around 6:45 A.M. The D.N.R. says some spilled ethanol was captured in catch pans along the railroad tracks. However the company estimates as much as 10,000 gallons of ethanol have pooled outside the pans, with some reaching a tile line that eventually flows to a small local pond.
D.N.R. investigators on the scene say they were able to smell gasoline in a manhole where the tile line runs and are taking samples in the manhole, at the tile line inlet, and where the tile line drains into the pond.
Hawkeye Renewables has hired an environmental cleanup company to plug the tile line and pump out the pooled ethanol. The company will flush the tile line with water into Hawkeye Renewables’ stormwater holding basin. The company will also clean up contaminated soil.