WASHINGTON —A Washington fertilizer plant is cleaning up Wednesday following a release of herbicides and farm chemicals to a creek.
A resident near South 14th Street and East Adams Street reported a strong chemical odor and milky white color in his neighborhood stream Tuesday evening. Upon investigation, the DNR traced the spill to the Liqui-Grow fertilizer plant on the north side of Washington.
Earlier in the day, a Liqui-Grow employee was rinsing out totes containing glyphosate, atrazine and nitrogen stabilizer on a containment area designed to hold runoff. However, when the storage area filled, the employee pumped the rinse water to the ground. The rinse water ran over a gravel parking lot before emptying into a drainage ditch and an intake to the storm sewer, which empties into an unnamed tributary of the South Fork of Long Creek on the southeast side of town. Water that enters a storm sewer is not treated before it reaches a stream, river or lake.
Liqui-Grow estimates that at least 400 to 500 gallons of rinse water containing the farm chemicals reached an unnamed tributary of the South Fork of Long Creek.
Wednesday, Liqui-Grow employees flushed the storm sewer with clean water, collecting contaminated rinse water at the outfall. The company will also plug the storm sewer intake and clean the gravel lot and remainder of the spill area.
Residents, pets and livestock should avoid the creek for at least 48 hours.