Cleanup underway after tank collapse at Barton 1792 Distillery in Bardstown

BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WDRB) -- Cleanup is underway after a tank collapsed at a Bardstown distillery. Officials say 120,000 gallons of mash leaked outside the Barton 1792 Distillery. 

Nelson County EMS said employees of Barton 1792 reported just before noon Tuesday that someone had been injured. First responders arrived on scene to find a mash tank had "failed," a second had been punctured and a third was damaged. Two of the tanks were leaking, according to a news release from Nelson County EMS.

The facility is owned by Sazerac.

The leak flowed into a nearby basin, but when that began to overflow, the liquid headed toward a stream. So crews built berms to prevent the stream from being impacted. Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet Spokesman John Mura said about 120,000 gallons of mash spilled from the tanks. Some of that did spill into Beech Fork River, but the exact amount isn't known.

Two people were injured and transported to Flaget Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Both have since been released.

This incident happened at the same distillery where a bourbon warehouse collapsed in June 2018. The building that collapsed was filled with about 18,000 barrels of bourbon, which leaked into a nearby creek and poisoned fish.

Sazerac released a statement Tuesday night following the leak:

"Today, March 5, 2019 we had an incident at Barton 1792 Distillery where the beer well failed. (The beer well is used in the production process to hold the fermented mash before it is distilled.) Currently we do not know the cause of the beer well failure and we are working to secure the area."

Of the 120,000 gallons of mash that leaked outside, Mura said 10,000 gallons flowed into a storm drain. He said the tank collapse happened after one of its legs snapped, which caused it to overturn. 

Bardstown Fire Chief Billy Mattingly said EPA workers were on site Tuesday to assess the nearby waterway.

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