VILLISCA – Ammonia that got released from an agricultural cooperative in Villisca earlier this week is contained and is being recovered. The recovered solution of water and ammonia will be land applied to crop fields.
An unknown amount of anhydrous ammonia was released into a city storm sewer intake and then flowed into a small unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River. The ammonia is believed to have originated at the United Farmers Mercantile Co-op in Villisca and to have occurred sometime between 1:30 p.m. Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. It was reported to the DNR by a citizen.
Under instruction from the DNR, the coop constructed a dam on the tributary and is pumping it to be land applied. By Friday afternoon, approximately 44,000 gallons of the solution had been recovered. The coop is also flushing the tributary from the storm sewer to remove the contamination.
Although the incident is still under investigation by the DNR, it appears that soil at the cooperative had been contaminated with anhydrous ammonia and came in contact with water when a water line broke. Anhydrous ammonia is in vapor form until it comes in contact with water and becomes soluble. When the water line was being repaired, the ammonia-mixed water got pumped to a city storm sewer that eventually empties into the unnamed tributary of the West Nodaway River.
DNR field office staff is continuing to monitor the clean up.