Information and Updates for AltEn near Mead, Nebraska


Facility ID: 84069
Date last revised: Nov. 23, 2021

This page is designed to keep the Mead community, Saunders County residents and interested citizens informed about significant activities related to the cleanup and mitigation actions at the AltEn ethanol facility.

Note: Older updates can be found below the Documents section.


AFRG depressurizes bubble in northeast lagoon - Nov. 23, 2021
The AltEn Facility Response Group (AFRG) submitted a plan to address gas bubbles in the liner in AltEn’s northeast lagoon. These bubbles are also referred to as “whales.” NDEE has reviewed the plan, provided comments, received updates to the plan and approved it.

The AFRG began this work on Nov. 18. Newfields, AFRG’s contractor, states in the plan that gases have expanded the whales in the facility’s lagoons, which threaten the integrity of the lagoon and its embankment.

To address the issues with the liner, the AFRG depressurized the most serious whale on the eastern end of the northeast lagoon. Future plans include preventing the liner from lifting where it is torn and depressurizing additional gas pockets that could threaten the lagoons’ integrity.

Plans and correspondence between NDEE and the AFRG’s contractor can be found in the agency’s public records portal in the following documents:
  • “Maintenance Activity,” filed Nov. 9
  • “Maintenance Activity/NDEQ Response,” filed Nov. 10
  • “Maintenance Activity/Facility Response,” filed Nov. 11
  • “Maintenance Activity/NDEQ Response,” filed Nov. 12
  • “Maintenance Activity,” filed Nov. 15
  • “Maintenance Activity,” filed Nov. 17


NDEE responds to Senator Blood letter - Nov. 18, 2021

On Nov. 18, NDEE responded to a letter from Nebraska Senator Carol Blood. See below for her letter and NDEE’s response.

Date

Nov. 18, 2021

NDEE Response 11-18-21.pdf - File Size 69 KB





NDEE receives plan to cover wetcake pile - Nov. 18, 2021
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy has received a plan to cover the consolidated wetcake pile on the AltEn site from the AltEn Facility Response Group (AFRG).

The plan can be found on the agency’s public records portal in documents titled “Wet Cake Consolidation,” filed Nov. 2. NDEE has reviewed the plan and provided comments to the AFRG. Those comments can be found in a document titled “Wetcake Consolidation/Facility Response,” filed Nov. 9.


AFRG submits Remedial Action Plan - Nov. 2, 2021
The AltEn Facility Response Group (AFRG) submitted its remedial action plan (RAP) for the voluntary cleanup program on Nov. 1.

The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy is currently reviewing the document, which has been posted to the agency’s public records portal.

Although the document is available for the public to view, it is not open for public comment. To read an overview of the RAP review and comment process, see the Oct. 28 update below.


Public notice and comment procedures for the Remedial Action Plan - Oct. 28, 2021
The Remedial Action Plan (RAP) for the Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program is due from the AltEn Facility Response Group (AFRG) on November 1, 2021. After NDEE receives the proposed RAP, the agency will begin a review process that will include an opportunity for public comment, as described below.

Once NDEE receives the proposed RAP, the agency will begin an internal review process. Any comments that the Department generates during this internal review will be submitted back to the AFRG and the AFRG will have an opportunity to address those comments and resubmit the RAP. This initial review and response will happen before the proposed RAP is open for public comment. The proposed RAP is a public record and will be available to view during NDEE’s internal review and before public comment begins. Correspondence between NDEE and the AFRG regarding the proposed RAP also will be part of the public record and available to view.

If NDEE’s comments are addressed to its satisfaction, NDEE will then provide public notice of its intent to approve the RAP by publishing a legal notice in a local newspaper of general circulation near the affected area, as well as on the Agency website at the following link: http://dee.ne.gov/Press.nsf/PNall.xsp. The public comment period will begin once the legal notice is published. The public comment period will remain open for thirty (30) days. During the public comment period, NDEE will take written comments from the public on the proposed RAP. NDEE will also hold a public hearing at which the public can testify. The date for the public hearing will be contained in the published legal notice. All written comments or testimony received by NDEE during the public comment period will become part of the public record.

Comments and testimony from the public submitted outside of the 30-day public comment period and public hearing may not be considered.

Following the public comment period and public hearing, NDEE will prepare a responsiveness summary to the public comments and testimony received during the 30-day public comment period, and may request that the RAP be revised to address issues raised by the public.

After AFRG has a chance to respond to the responsiveness summary and/or revise the proposed RAP, NDEE will undertake a final review and, if satisfied, make a final decision on the proposed RAP. NDEE will mail a Final Remedial Action Decision Letter to AFRG, as well as to all parties who submitted written comments, provided testimony, or requested to be informed of the final decision.



NDEE receives drinking water sample results - Oct. 22, 2021
The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy has received sample results for six private drinking water wells in the Mead area that were sampled for pesticides associated with the AltEn facility.

One of these wells was re-sampled because it had detectable levels of pesticides during a sampling event this summer. NDEE sampled the five new wells for pesticides because of their proximity to the first well, in addition to providing sampling for coliform bacteria and nitrates.

Sample results confirmed the presence of pesticides in the well sampled this summer. All pesticides were below the Human Health Benchmarks for Drinking Water established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The results for the re-sampled are as follows:

Compound
Sample Result
micrograms/liter (ug/L)
Human Health Benchmark for Drinking Water (ug/L)
Clothianidin
1.7
630
Thiamethoxam
.97
77
Mefenoxam
0.068
474
Chlorantraniliprole
0.062
10,100


Of the five new wells that were sampled, one also had detectable levels of pesticides that were below the Human Health Benchmarks. The results are as follows:

Compound
Sample Result
micrograms/liter (ug/L)
Human Health Benchmark for Drinking Water (ug/L)
Clothianidin
0.082
630


Additionally, of the five new wells, two had detections for coliform and three contained nitrates above the health standard of 10 milligrams/liter. NDEE sampled for these contaminants as a courtesy to give well owners a more complete picture of their water quality. It is not unusual to find nitrates or coliform bacteria in private drinking water wells in Nebraska, and annual sampling for both is recommended.

A summary of drinking water sampling that took place this summer, as well as information on addressing pesticides, coliform and nitrates in drinking water, can be found in the Sept. 23 update below.

Sample results for the five additional private drinking water wells and the results from re-sampling the first well are available on NDEE’s public records portal.


Documents

DateAdministrative Order - Judicial Case
03/01/2021 -
Judicial Case
AltEn LLC - 84069 -Pleading - Complaint Filed 3-1-21
02/20/2021 - Administrative OrderAltEn LLC - 84069 - Case No. 3546 - EMERGENCY COMPLAINT AND ORDER
02/04/2021 - Administrative OrderAltEn, LLC 84069 Case No 3540 Emergency Order - Final





Older updates

Mold sampling results available - Oct. 15, 2021


The Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy sampled for mold in ambient air at the AltEn site and in the village of Mead. Background samples were also taken in control areas in Memphis, Seward, Ceresco and Waverly.

Sampling took place Sept 10, 2021, and results for all locations can be found on NDEE’s public records portal in a document titled “Request Information/NDEQ Response,” filed on Oct. 12, 2021.

Archived Updates can be found HERE