EPA investigates, says West debris not hazardous - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |


EPA investigates, says West debris not hazardous

WEST - Debris removed from the West fertilizer plant explosion and dumped into two piles nearby was not hazardous and did not contaminate the local water supply.

That's the result of an investigation by the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The federal agency's report was released Tuesday after it looked into an anonymous tip called into the EPA's hotline.

The claim alleged three concerns:
        1.  Debris, possibly containing hazardous substances including pesticides and herbicides was placed in large piles on two properties adjacent to the West fertilizer plant.

        2.  Contamination from the two piles was potentially leaking into the local drinking water supply system through a broken water main directly beneath the two properties.

        3.  There are no immediate plans by the Texas commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) or EPA to address the piles and possible contamination.

The EPA conducted a review from July of 2013 until January of 2014.  It determined the debris was moved by another federal agency into two piles on nearby property but it was non-hazardous.

TCEQ staff was aware there was a broken water main but it was determined Cottonwood Water Supply operated the supply lines in that area and those water mains were disconnected shortly after the explosion.  They were then monitored daily.

The TCEQ staff also confirmed debris removal at the two properties is complete.  It was removed, tested and found to be non-hazardous again, and was appropriately recycled or disposed.

To review the entire report, to to www.epa.gov/oig/reports/2014/20140224-14-P-0123.pdf.
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