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EPA responders answer state and county calls for help to investigate thousands of leaky containers near Rexburg, Idaho

Release Date: 07/14/2010
Contact Information: Mark MacIntyre/EPA Seattle, 206-553-7302, macintyre.mark@epa.gov

(Seattle – July 14, 2010) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, at the request of local, county and state authorities, is conducting a hazardous waste assessment and investigation near Rexburg in Madison County, Idaho.

A series of complaint-driven property visits by members of the (Madison) County Planning and Zoning Commission, the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Madison Fire Department, all prompted a call to the EPA requesting assistance.

On Friday, July 9, EPA obtained a civil warrant authorizing EPA to enter the property. Andy Smith, EPA On-Scene Coordinator, entered the property on Saturday, July 10, and determined that it was littered with dozens of non-operational cars and other vehicles, unattended solid waste, and hundreds of containers in various sizes from drums to buckets. Some containers were clearly leaking.

“This is one of the most challenging sites I’ve seen,“ said EPA’s Smith. “We’ve had to move inoperable vehicles and clear a lot of brush just to see what we’ve got here. Because we’re so close to a drinking water well head and irrigation ditch, we’re being especially careful to not make this problem worse.”

The Agency expects to have a better idea of the size and scope of the cleanup once more of the assessment phase is completed later in the week. EPA continues to work closely with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in addressing this situation.

For more about EPA’s Emergency Response Program, visit: http://yosemite.epa.gov/R10/CLEANUP.NSF/unit1/emergency+response+unit