The Ajinomoto plant in Eddyville was evacuated Wednesday night because of a chemical spill.

Mahaska County 911 was notified around 8:20 p.m. about an acid leak at the plant. Ajinomoto makes amino acids that are used as supplements to make feed for dairy cattle, swine and poultry. Eddyville residents were advised to shelter in place. Mahaska County Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem says some type of valve at the plant blew out and was leaking.

“They were able to shut the main valve off last night, that would have been around 10 or10:30…which stopped the flow,” he says. “…I think they worked until probably one or two this morning, to back pump it into a storage container.”

No injuries have been reported. Van Renterghem says the wind was coming from the northeast overnight and that was crucial.

“There was a minor plume from this acid, but the wind carried the small plume to the southwest — out into an agricultural area,” he says. “Like I said, we were all very thankful that the wind wasn’t out of the southwest going toward the northeast, because we were going to have to evacuate the city of Eddyville at that time.”

Van Renterghem says the situation at the Ajinomoto plant is still being monitored, but there’s no further danger to the public.

(By Joe Lancello, KBOE, Oskaloosa)