Washington state barge company fined over fertilizer spills

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The state Department of Ecology has fined a Vancouver barge company $18,000 for spilling 40,000 gallons (151,000 liters) of fertilizer in the Columbia and Snake rivers in April.

The Columbian reported Monday that state investigators found two of Tidewater Barge Lines Inc.’s steel tank barges weren’t adequately maintained and allowed urea ammonium nitrate — a liquid fertilizer known to be corrosive to steel — to spill on three separate occasions.

The company is required to prevent future spills and submit to the department an annual comprehensive corrosion management plan for its barges.

Tidewater has 30 days to pay the fine or appeal to the state’s Pollution Control Hearings Board.

Attempts to contact the company for comment were unsuccessful.