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Richardton ethanol plant reports spill

The ethanol plant owned by Red Trail Energy LLC reported an ethanol spill Thursday at their operation approximately one-half mile east of Richardton.

The ethanol plant owned by Red Trail Energy LLC reported an ethanol spill Thursday at their operation approximately one-half mile east of Richardton.

"It was a transfer valve similar to your garden hose-little more complex than that-but they just didn't get it closed all the way," said Bill Suess of the North Dakota Department of Health.

The leak was not noticed by workers and resulted in 202 barrels, or 8,484 gallons, of ethanol spilled.

Suess said that the spill will have no direct effect on the ethanol plant.

There was also no direct effect to the environment. It was outside of the plant's secondary containment, but it was still within the plant where there is no vegetation or water that can be impacted.

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When asked how to prevent these situations, Suess responded, "Better training and getting their people more aware of the situation."

The spill was caught on Thursday and it most likely started Wednesday, Suess said.

He added that due to ethanol being alcohol, it is flammable and there is always a potential risk involved.

There is a berm constructed around the spill area and workers have blocked all culverts leading off the facility.

The ethanol plant contracts a specialized environmental company to clean up the spill. Cleanup times vary.

"Ethanol spills are not as common, but they do have small ones periodically," said Suess.

The North Dakota Department of Health will issue a press release for any spill that is 150 barrels or greater or if it affects water.

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