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Federal and State Responders Continue Mop-Up Operations at Scene of Friday’s Fire and Toxic Chemical Spill on Warm Springs Road in Boise, ID

Release Date: 10/25/2010
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre, EPA Public Affairs 206-369-7999(cell)

(Seattle – October 24, 2010) Federal responders from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency are spending a third day cleaning up the remains of a toxic chemical spill associated with the two alarm fire on Friday(10/22) in a rural area on the outskirts of Boise, Idaho.

The state of Idaho requested EPA’s help on Friday afternoon, when a fire on private property near East Junior High School (6275 Warm Springs Avenue) engulfed several buildings that reportedly contained potentially hazardous materials. EPA’s initial response was supplemented with a new On-Scene Coordinator and nine cleanup contractors by Saturday evening.

Environmental and health concerns arose after fire suppression water mixed with hazardous wood treating chemicals drained to a small pond between the fire site and the Boise River. Initial air monitoring conducted at the scene by the Boise Fire Haz-Mat team also detected elevated mercury vapors.

Recently reviewed sampling results from both pond water and sediment found no indication of wood treating chemicals but heavy metal sampling results have not yet returned from the lab. Air monitoring continues at the scene, with slightly elevated mercury levels being detected in the immediate vicinity of the spill.

According to Jeffry Rodin, EPA On-Scene Coordinator, his team is focused on cleaning up some key spill areas and preparing to remove contaminated debris and soil.

“We’re concentrating on cleaning up areas where the Mercury and wood treating chemicals were stored,” said EPA’s Rodin. “We expect to finish those areas and stage contaminated soil and debris for removal within a week’s time. We’ll also be dealing with a pile of vehicle batteries and assorted household hazardous waste on site, including paint cans and other containers.”

Rodin continues working closely with Boise City Fire & Haz-Mat, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security to secure the site, complete the cleanup and oversee debris removal.