Southwest Iowa fertilizer spill reaches Missouri

The Iowa DNR says the 1500 tons of liquid nitrogen fertilizer that spilled into a southwest Iowa river on Monday has now reached Missouri.

In a press release, the agency says cleanup efforts continue along the East Nishnabotna River. Due to low water levels in the river, the concentration of fertilizer is much higher than during normal stream flows, causing concern for all animals due to high nitrate and urea levels.

The DNR also says it is encouraging private well owners in Montgomery, Page, and Fremont counties near proximity to the river to contact their county health department to test their wells for nitrate. The agency will provide county health officials with lists of registered private wells that may be vulnerable.

Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine Toxicologist Scott Radke recommends keeping all animals away from the East Nishnabotna River until the plume of contaminant moves out of the area.

The spill was discovered early Monday morning at New Cooperative in Red Oak. The release occurred due to a valve left open on an aboveground storage tank in the overnight hours. Officials say dead fish continue to be observed along the river and the extent of the fish kill is still being determined.

The Iowa DNR’s investigation is on-going.

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