Public-works engineers say cities along the western border of Iowa wouldn’t have been in danger from a weekend toxic spill. When 150-thousand gallons of dangerous chemicals from an old tannery site in Salix threatened t flow into the Missouri River, Department of Natural Resources crews contained the spill. But they also made calls to water plants down-river in Omaha and Council Bluffs to advise them, and Doug Drummey at the Bluffs water plant says they have emergency plans for any such event. Drummey conforms the Council Bluffs water plant has emergency backup supplies of water they could have drawn on if needed. He says there’s a complete treatment plant at the water works, with processes that likely would have removed any contaminant. The flow of chemicals was halted in a dry channel, an “oxbow” left when the Missouri changed course a long time ago. Emergency workers who contained the spill couldn’t say which chemicals were among the combination once used at a tannery that is now closed in Salix. The fluid apparently traveled through pipes that workers hadn’t known about, when they recently began construction at a wetland in the area near the Missouri River. The water-plant director thanked the Department of Natural Resources for its fast action containing the spill, noting “they were on top of it from the very beginning.” The DNR gave his facility early notification, and Drummey says they began putting together emergency plans in case they were necessary. “Fortunately with the help of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources and others that were able to contain it, we did not have to put into action any of our responses to this type of event.” Though Council Bluffs’ municipal water supply normally is taken directly from the river, Drummey says there are a couple wells already in place that can be used as an alternate supply so contamination of the river or other emergencies won’t leave the city without drinking water.
You are here: / / Spill stopped before it hits Missouri River