A Humboldt County trucking company is paying $71,967 for accidents that killed a driver and sent raw milk into Lake County waterways over the past three years.
Officials said Monday that Steve Wills Trucking and Logging, based in Fortuna, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have agreed in a dispute.
After two spills in 2020 and one in 2021, the trucking company was accused of breaking the Clean Water Act.
The EPA says that U.S. law “requires the safe management of materials to protect public health, the environment, and to limit the need for expensive and extensive cleanups.”
In a statement, EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Martha Guzman said, “Improperly moving goods can hurt waterways and put workers’ safety at risk.” “When companies don’t take care of substances that could harm waterways, the safety of the community, the environment, and the workers are at risk.”
On Monday night, no one from Steve Wills Trucking could be contacted immediately for comment.
On January 19, 2020, a tanker truck flipped over on Highway 20 near Glenhaven. This was the first accident.
A consent agreement that the EPA filed in the case says that the truck spilled 2,825 gallons of milk, some of which went into Clear Lake. Most of it couldn’t be found.
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On April 12, 2020, a similar accident happened on Highway 20 near Clearlake Oaks. At least 3,425 gallons of milk spilled out of a truck, and some of it went into the lake.
The EPA says drivers were cited in both 2020 crashes, but specific details about how they happened were not made public on Monday.
The third crash happened on December 11, 2021, about 10 miles east of Clearlake Oaks and east of Lance Road on Highway 20. When a truck flipped over into Grizzly Creek, a branch of Cache Creek, 2,997 gallons of milk spilled out.
The EPA says that an investigation into the 2021 crash is still happening.
The truck driver was a 57-year-old man from Willows in Glenn County. He died at the scene of the accident.
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