Fairbanks man faces pollution charge in Soldotna diesel spill

Posted: Friday, November 30, 2001

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- The state has charged a Fairbanks motorist with violating Alaska's oil pollution laws after he unwittingly spilled diesel he had mistakenly pumped into his gasoline-powered van.

The mishap left a diesel sheen on the Kenai River.

Burton Lymburner, 62, faces one count of discharging petroleum into state waters, a misdemeanor, according to documents filed last week at the Kenai courthouse. A trial date has not been scheduled.

According to the documents, Lymburner mistakenly pumped 23.5 gallons of diesel into his van in the rainy gloom shortly before 6 a.m. Sept. 3 at a Soldotna Tesoro 2Go station.

Lymburner told the Anchorage Daily News on Thursday that he unplugged the tank, draining the unwanted diesel into some containers. He said he believes he caught all but about 5 gallons that sprayed onto the wet concrete. Lymburner said he used the diesel in his shop heater.

The mixed fuel and water ran down a storm drain, prompting Tesoro employees to begin a cleanup and call emergency services.

The diesel sheen stretched a half mile on the state's premier fishing stream for more than five hours, according to officials with the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation.

The state tracked Lymburner down by connecting his name to a bank card used to buy the diesel and replacement gasoline.

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