A 22,000-gallon spill of diesel fuel in the Bering Sea village of Savoonga is apparently the result of “human error,” according to state officials.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation said word of the Savoonga Native Store spill, at about midnight Wednesday, reached DEC at about 11:30 a.m. Wednesday. According to an initial report, the spill occurred during “the transfer of fuel from the 26,500-gallon storage tank to the 3,000-gallon day tank” at the St. Lawrence Island facility.

“No impact to resources outside of the tank farm containment have been reported,” DEC officials wrote.

DEC spokesman Tom DeRuyter said the tank had apparently been overfilled, although the reason that happened wasn’t immediately clear from initial reports.

“We’re sending somebody out – the phone connection is not good,” DeRuyter said. “Exactly why it was overfilled is a bit of mystery.”

DEC officials are familiar with the site after responding to a 6,000-gallon spill in January 2012, DeRuyter said.

“It appears from the photos, and what we’ve known about this site, is that it’s in a lined secondary containment which has a chain-link fence around it,” DeRuyter said. “It’s in a fairly secure site that shouldn’t have any wildlife impacts associated with it, so that’s what we’re all hoping.”

A spill responder isn’t expected to reach Savoonga until at least Friday, DeRuyter said.

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