OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Those who live downwind of the Nox-Crete chemical warehouse and Monday night's fire might find charred debris in their yard.
The EPA and Nebraska's Department of Environment and Energy found debris more than a mile east-southeast of the plant. It's believed to be roofing material.
The agencies say it's been tested and does not contain asbestos; however, they say residents shouldn't mow over it. Instead, they say to get it a little damp and use gloves to pick it up.
They recommend double bagging the debris before throwing it in an outdoor trash can.
Read the state's full press release below.
"During an assessment of the Nox-Crete warehouse fire site in Omaha and surrounding areas Thursday, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) observed charred debris that had been dispersed by the fire. NDEE discovered the debris at a location approximately 1.25 miles east-southeast of the facility.
Nox-Crete leadership initially identified the debris as roofing insulation. Nox-Crete told NDEE and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that an asbestos abatement was previously performed at the warehouse site. DHHS records confirm that 680 linear feet and 883 square feet of asbestos material was removed from the property in 1993. Despite that 1993 abatement, DHHS conducted an analysis of the debris for the presence of asbestos out of an abundance of caution for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Late Thursday afternoon, NDEE received confirmation from DHHS that the debris tested negative for the presence of asbestos. This means that residents who find fire debris in their yards can dispose of the debris with other household trash. NDEE, in conjunction with DHHS and the Douglas County Health Department, is advising residents in the area of the fire to avoid mowing over the material. Cleanup of the material should be performed with gloves. To avoid crumbling of the material, residents can lightly dampen the debris prior to handling. Residents are advised to double bag the debris before placing it in their outdoor trash receptacle. NDEE will continue to coordinate with local government agencies assisting in the response to the Nox-Crete facility fire.
Background After receiving notification of the Nox-Crete fire Tuesday morning, NDEE dispatched a responder to the scene to conduct an on-site assessment and communicate with NoxCrete leadership about Title 126, state regulatory cleanup requirements. During Tuesday’s investigation, NDEE surveyed the incident scene for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) with a hand-held MultiRAE photo-ionization detector (PID). VOC readings in the air near the facility were detectable, but very low, with registrations no higher than 1 part per million (PPM).
Data observed on Tuesday from NDEE’s Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network also showed no exceedances of federal standards for nitrous oxide, carbon monoxide, ozone, particulate matter, or sulfur dioxide. On Wednesday, NDEE sent responders back to the Nox-Crete facility to further assess the scene. At approximately 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, NDEE requested assistance from EPA Region 7. EPA communicated to NDEE its intent to perform a site survey on Wednesday evening before conducting sampling on Thursday, June 2.
After NDEE has finalized its investigation, the department will issue a report detailing its observations."