A roundup of sorts is taking place in Iowa, but it doesn’t involve cattle. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa National Guard have been combing flooded Iowa rivers to round up drums and tanks of chemicals swept away by flooding.
E.P.A. spokesperson, Dianna Whitaker, says they’re traveling down the rivers looking for the containers, and then take them to a staging area, where they determine if there’s any hazardous material in them. Whitaker says thus far they’ve found some eight thousand of what are called "orphan" containers.
She says most of the tanks are under five gallons, but the occasionally find large L-P tanks, and have collected about 59 of those. Whitaker says if you see a tank in the water, you should leave the recovery to the professionals.
Whitaker says if you see something on the river or near the shore, they don’t want you to get near them, as they could be dangerous. They do want you to call and report any tanks you see. The Iowa D.N.R. has a spill line you can call at:515-281-8694 to report the tank and then officials from the E.P.A., National Guard or D.N.R. will come and look at it and take care of it.
Whitaker says they have staging areas in Bremer, Butler, Johnson and Linn counties for the tanks. They’ll determine if they contain hazardous materials, and then the tanks will be sent to a hazardous materials site, scrap yard or landfill for disposal.