AltEn Community Open House Presentation

The below information has been provided in an effort to help keep the community informed on a more frequent basis about progress at the AltEn site. 

Ever since AltEn ceased operations at its facility in Mead in 2021, the AltEn Facility Response Group (FRG) has been voluntarily working under the guidance of the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) to stabilize the AltEn site and develop a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the site. The FRG’s top priorities have been and continue to be to help ensure the safety of the surrounding community and environment. To-date, there has been no evidence of impacts to local drinking water.

The FRG is working diligently with the NDEE to identify the most effective and safest methods to address the current environmental conditions on the AltEn site. The remedial action plans (RAP) will recommend remediation for components remaining on-site, including wastewater, sludge, and wet cake.

August 22, 2023

AltEn Community Open House Presentation

An informational community open house hosted by the FRG was held on Aug. 22 for residents. This meeting included updates about progress and plans for the Solid Waste Pilot Project, during which non-hazardous wet cake will start being removed from the AltEn site. The PowerPoint presentation used during the open house is available here.

Background & Progress

Background In 2021, the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) sought assistance for environmental issues caused by AltEn’s mishandled materials at its facility, failure to follow customer agreements and its lack of compliance with federal and state environmental regulations The AltEn Facility Response Group (FRG) formed to stabilize the site and develop a Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the solids and water waste left at the AltEn site FRG comprises former AltEn customers with agreements to supply AltEn seed for ethanol production: AgReliant, Bayer, Beck’s, Corteva Agriscience, WinField United, Syngenta AltEn is not a member and is not participating in voluntary measures of the FRG The FRG entered the site into the Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program (VCP) pursuant to a Memorandum of Understanding dated June 30, 2021 NewFields retained as FRG’s technical consultant and project manager The NDEE has oversight of all work performed under the VCP
Progress to Date

The FRG’s Role

The FRG’s Role: Water Treatment The FRG stabilized the AltEn site to limit environmental damage that could impact the community The FRG is developing Remedial Action Plans (RAPs): One for water and one for solids that were abandoned by AltEn: Water RAP approved in 2022 and is currently being implemented Solids RAP recommendation in development Water treatment includes wastewater from ethanol production, as well as stormwater By the end of 2022, FRG had implemented the Water RAP and treated more than 49 million gallons of wastewater that accumulated in the lagoons and pond, including 31 million gallons that have been applied to local farms as a beneficial nutrient source A new on-site water treatment facility became operational in August 2023 Approximately 100 million gallons remain to be treated, not including future stormwater
The FRG’s Role: Water Treatment Groundwater flow direction is south-southeast Only one monitoring well (AltEn-MW5) has a USEPA Health-Based Screening Level Exceedance NDEE’s groundwater data from private and public water supply wells: No detections of pesticides in Mead public water supply wells Very few detections of pesticides in private water supply wells All detections of pesticides are below USEPA Health-Based Screening Levels FRG and NDEE continue to monitor groundwater quarterly
The FRG’s Role: Solids Solids include non-hazardous materials such as debris, unused seed, wet cake, water treatment system and lagoon sludge This summer, more than 1,500 tons of debris, biochar, soil and trash were removed from the site
The FRG’s Role: Solids Covanta contracted for seed transportation and disposal at their waste-to-energy facility in Tulsa, OK Estimated total of 6,675 tons of seed Trucks are being covered, wheel-washed, and visually inspected before exiting the AltEn site Progress update South Hoop Building completed North Hoop Building under way Approximately 1,000 tons of seed corn have been removed Schedule Four to five months to complete based on an estimated average of three to five trucks per day May have more trucks on some days depending on transporter’s schedule
The FRG’s Role: Solids Today, consolidated wet cake is covered with Posi-Shell® – a material that has been safely used on remediation projects over the last 15 years Reduces odors, stormwater contact with the wet cake, and stormwater infiltration through the pile Seepage that may occur through the wet cake pile is captured using a perimeter drainage system that collects the water for treatment at the on-site water treatment system The Posi-Shell and seepage collection system combined with the underlying clay soil reduce the potential of stormwater to move into the ground

Solid Waste Pilot Project

Solid Waste Pilot Project September to November 2023: Solidification, transportation and disposal of wet cake, a non-hazardous waste This is a Pilot Project: Not all the wet cake at the AltEn site will be removed during this phase Best practices will be applied and learned to inform future decisions and recommendations Up to 24,000 tons of solidified wet cake will be transported by WM on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at a rate of up to six trucks per hour to Pheasant Point Landfill
Solid Waste Pilot Project Solidification process Bentonite clay (natural material) is the solidification reagent – 8% to 15% by weight dosage Wet cake from the pile will be loaded into the pugmill through a feed hopper Bentonite will be fed into the pugmill from a silo and mixed with the wet cake Solidified wet cake will then be conveyed to a lined stockpile and loaded into trucks for transport to the landfill
Solid Waste Pilot Project Stormwater management Work areas surrounded by berms to contain stormwater runoff Two sumps equipped with automated pumps will convey water to the Northeast Lagoon and then treated Dust and odor mitigation Access roads, wet cake piles and stockpiles will be sprayed with water to control dust Open wet cake pile excavation face and solidified material stockpiles will be coveredwith an odor suppressant at the end of each day Solidified wet cake will be placed into truck bedsthat are lined with plastic; plastic will be wrappedand taped over the top of wet cake Air monitoring Visible dust and odor-causing substances Air quality monitoring along perimeter Truck wheels will be washed prior toexiting the AltEn site CR 10 will be cleaned daily