’It is poison’: Mead residents describe affects of city’s ethanol plant
LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - There’s a growing concern in Mead, Nebraska about the ethanol plant within the city. This has lead Senator Bruce Bostelman to bring legislation to prohibit treated seed corn if it’s harmful to people and livestock.
Officials said the main issue with the plant is the distiller’s grains from corn seed fermentation which have insecticides.
Mead resident Jody Weible said, “There are tens of thousands of tons of this toxic waste and it is out of control.”
Weible lives less than a mile from the AltEn ethanol plant. She said she and her neighbors are getting sick from it and have been for 3 years now.
“I have coughed for 3 years,” Weible said. “The neighbor next to me, her daughter has puss dripping out of her eyes.
She said it’s not only affecting people in Mead, but also the livestock there.
“It can not be fed to cattle. It is poison,” Weible said.
Sen. Bostelman says storing this material on-site is contaminating the city’s water supply.
“This process is not environmentally safe nor is it commonly used in the production of ethanol,” Sen. Bostelman said.
People in mead fear the water supply will be contaminated throughout eastern Nebraska if action isn’t taken immediately.
Lincoln Transportation and Utilities issued a statement which said, “LTU has reviewed this situation and is working closely with the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) - which also now includes the Drinking Water authority originally part of the Department of Health and Human Services. The NDEE has been working with AltEn located near Mead, Nebraska to determine if a release has occurred. If a pollutant does exist, LTU estimates it would be decades before any potential pollutant from the facility site could impact Lincoln’s well fields which gives Lincoln Water System significant time to monitor the situation and work with NDEE on their findings. The NDEE regulates discharges from facilities to waters of the state including groundwater. The Lincoln Water System will continue to monitor the situation and provide safe drinking water to Lincoln.”
Even though it may not come to lincoln for a while, officials said it’s a major issue right now in Mead.
President of the Nebraska Farmer’s Union, John Hansen, said, “This is not a good situation and this is something I think requires appropriate and immediate action.”
According to the bill, if it’s passed it’ll take action immediately as it is considered an emergency.
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