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EPA: Nox-Crete pooled water 'above a level of concern'; treatment plants 'functioning properly'

Posted at 6:22 PM, Jun 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-17 10:31:32-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — We now know a little more about the potential repercussions of the Nox-Crete fire on Memorial Day that burned over a dozen toxic chemicals into the air.

Due to pouring large amounts of water on the fire, runoff that likely included chemicals went into the Omaha sewer system.

Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said in a press release that sample results from "pooled water at or near the facility indicate some detections above a level of concern for heavy metals and volatile organic compounds."

The specific sample results were released Thursday and 3 News Now could not immediately find an expert to speak on it.

The Nox-Crete runoff came to the Omaha Wastewater Treatment Plant near the Missouri River. Public works officials said they could not interview Thursday but in an email exchange, Assistant Director of Omaha Public Works Jim Theiler said, in summary, things seem to be okay for now.

Theiler said right after the fire, water with an oily sheen was seen at the treatment plant, but that hasn't come back since the day after the fire.

He said they’re not testing directly for toxins, instead “we test certain parameters and make observations that help us understand if anything unusual that may pose an issue or needs attention is present in the influent flow.”

He also pointed to Nox-Crete's use of absorbent barriers to block any new runoff.

Those barriers could be seen when 3 News Now was at the site Thursday and a picture of what’s called "sorbent booms" are in a recent Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy report.

So the likelihood of more runoff getting into the sewer system appears low.