The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has partnered with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality to recover containers with potentially hazardous materials. Operations began March 27, and the EPA has recovered over 2,200 containers, including drums, tanks and canisters, that were dislodged by floods.
Containers and their contents were disposed or recycled as appropriate. According to a press release, the tanks contain mostly oil, fertilizer, chemicals, liquefied petroleum gas and other hazardous materials.Containters that are recovered are brought to a waste collection site where an EPA site manager and contractors, including a chemist, sample and classify the waste.
The collection process is completed by preparing waste and containers for disposal or recycling. Temporary collection sites are consolidated, and the soil is tested so that the site can be returned to the state in a safe condition. Persistent heavy rains and flooding keep some containers from being accessible by land. Isolated containers will have to be recovered after the floodwaters recede later this summer, according to Megan Schuette, the EPA On-Scene Coordinator.