AltEn Community Update

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.

September 21, 2023

AltEn Community Update

A progress report on the solid waste pilot project, seed disposal, lagoon water treatment and land application, communication efforts and other activities.  

Update: Solid Waste Pilot Project

Planning and site preparation have been underway for a pilot project in which non-hazardous wet cake will be transported and disposed off-site. Up to 24,000 tons of wet cake will be transported to Pheasant Point Landfill from September to November 2023. Best practices will be followed to reduce dust and odors; air quality will be monitored, and roads will be cleaned.

Pilot Project will consist of wet cake solidification and transporting up to 24,000 tons at a rate up to six trucks per hour to WM’s Pheasant Point Landfill Final amount may differ pending actual processing, transportation and landfilling rates Wet cake is non-hazardous waste, though can be odorous and create dust Pheasant Point Landfill can accept wet cake because it is non-hazardous waste per its NDEE permit Results will be used to determine viability of this remedial option Progress updates to be posted to the website weekly, e.g., number of trucks, quantity of wet cake
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 Wet cake will then be conveyed to a lined stockpile and loaded into trucks for transport to the landfill
Stormwater management Work areas surrounded by berms to contain stormwater runoff One sump equipped with an automated pump 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

Wet Cake Waste Classification

Wet cake is determined to be solid waste and non-hazardous, according to government regulations.

Wet cake at the AltEn site is a solid waste per government regulations Federal regulation: Resource Conservation and Recovery Action (RCRA) State regulation: NDEE Title 128 – Nebraska Hazardous Waste Regulations Hazardous waste is either listed or characteristic Listed wastes are listed in the regulations that are either from a specific manufacturing process, a used chemical, or a pure chemical or defined mixture of chemicals to be discarded Characteristic waste is one that is ignitable, corrosive, reactive or toxic as determined through process knowledge and laboratory analysis
Wet cake is non-hazardous waste per regulations because it is not: A listed waste Ignitable (flash point >60°C) Corrosive (pH greater than 2.0 and below 12.5 standard units) Reactive (stable under normal conditions) Toxic (Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure [TCLP] results below regulatory level) WM confirmed wet cake is non-hazardous waste and acceptable for disposal at their Pheasant Point Landfill Summary memo to be submitted to NDEE outlining waste classification

Update: Seed Disposal

Seeds are being transported from the AltEn site to Covanta’s waste-to-energy facility in Tulsa, Okla. More than 2,600 tons of seed corn has been removed through Sept. 15. This work is expected to be completed by October.

Covanta continues transporting and disposing seed 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 continues Approximately 2,634 tons of seed corn have been removed through Sept. 15 (133 trucks) Schedule Expect to complete North Hoop Building by Sept. 22 No seed removal will occur from Sept. 25 through Oct. 13 due to Covanta scheduling Seed removal from silo anticipated to commence Oct. 16

Update: Lagoon Water Treatment and Land Application

Millions of gallons of water continue to be treated and applied to land. Treated 3.2 million gallons in 2023, bringing total to 52.6 million gallons through Sept. 17.

Northwest Lagoon pumping Continuing to pump water from the NW Lagoon for treatment Commenced installing a larger sump to improve ability topump out the remaining water Water treatment Treated 3.2 million gallons in 2023, bringing total to52.6 million gallons through 9/17/23 Analytical results continue to show strong treatmentperformance Land application On track for land applying 20 million gallons this fall Oct. 9 through Nov. 15 (tentative)

Other Site Activities

  • Water monitoring – preliminary August results show decreased concentrations of pesticides.
  • Fence – construction of safety fencing will be completed by the end of September.
  • Some site work will occur over the coming weekends – though wet cake will NOT be transported on Saturdays or Sundays.


The FRG’s August open community meeting was covered statewide by several media outlets. The FRG will update the community following completion of the pilot project. Please continue checking for latest updates.