Miller Chemical Fire: Preliminary Water Tests Reveal Contaminants in Slagle’s Run

Posted in: United States Water News, Water Contamination
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A view of the burning structure off of High Street in the early afternoon of June 8, 2015. Photo Credit: Clare Becker – The Evening Sun.

Article courtesy of Lillian Reed | June 9, 2015 | The Evening Sun | Shared as educational material

Water samples taken from a stream near Miller Chemical show evidence of contamination following Monday’s fire at the Conewago Township plant, Department of Environmental Protection representative John Repetz said.

Miller Chemical fire: Find coverage, photos, video

“Things we are seeing are consistent with the events that we had yesterday, meaning some nutrients, pesticides, herbicides, metals from the structure that burned,” Repetz said of the samples taken from nearby Slagle’s Run. “It’s everything that is consistent with a fertilizer plant fire.”

The run connects with the south branch of the Conewago Creek, which is the main source of drinking water for the New Oxford Municipal Authority, Repetz said.

In addition to testing water from Slagle’s Run on Monday, the DEP took samples from the New Oxford Municipal Authority’s water supply, an official said. The tests showed there was no impact to New Oxford’s public water, Repetz said Tuesday.

However, the testing is not yet complete and rain could be a factor in how much material is flushed from the site, he said. The final test results may not be completed for another day or more.

The DEP is still working to learn more about the level of pollution and how much cleanup will be necessary in the days to come, Repetz said.

Many of the residents in the area are hooked up to a municipal water supply, Repetz said he believed there were some private drinking wells within the one mile radius of Miller Chemical plant.

However, testing for the wells does not fall under the jurisdiction of the DEP and is typically handled by local authorities, he said.

Calls made to the Conewago Township manager and public works department were not immediately returned.

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