The City of Ames and U.S. Ag Department have named a panel to look into the process for getting rid of animal waste at the National Animal Disease Center (NADC) in Ames. Controversy arose after employees of the N-A-D-C alleged the center was using improper procedures to deactivate proteins in the waste known as “prions” before they’re dumped into the Ames sewer system.

The assistant director of the Ames Water and Pollution Control Department, John Dunn, says the panel is just getting started. He says they’re still trying to get everyone’s schedules together and hope to get the panel assembled in Ames later this month to begin the investigation. Dunn says the panel will several goals.

Dunn says they will identify the scientifically accepted methods for destroying prions, assess the concerns about the processes now in place at N-A-D-C, determine the risk to humans, and if there is a risk, determine what sort of action needs to take place.

Dunn says they’re not sure how long the panel will work on the problem. He says they don’t know how long it will take, but would like to have a final report by the end of August. Dunn says the team has a wide range of professionals.

Dunn says the panel also has a citizen observer who is the chair of the Squaw Creek Watershed Coalition. N-A-D-C officials say they do research on a variety of animal diseases and have put off starting their research on Mad Cow disease until the prion issue is resolved.