Mead farmer wants his poisoned pond cleaned up

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Scientist: ‘It’s an early picture of what may be coming’

Mead Farmer wants his poisoned pond cleaned up

Scientist: ‘It’s an early picture of what may be coming’

JULIE: A FARMER IN MEAD, NEBRASKA SAYS HE WANTS TO SHFI IN HIS POND AGAIN, IN HIS LIFETIME. HE SAYS TOXIC RUNOFF FROM THE ALT-EN ETHANOL PLANT DESTREDOY HIS PROPERTY AND HE’S ASKINGHE T STATE AND SEED COMPANIES TO CLEAN IT UP. B:RO ALT-EN IS 30 MILES WEST OF OMAHA. THE STATE SHUT THEM DOWN A YEAR AGO. FOR SIX YEARS, THEY USED PESTICIDE-TREATED SEED CORN TO MAKE ETHANOL. THEY POLLUTED THEIR NDLA IN THE PROCESS, WITH A MIX OF HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS. JULIE: NOW, SEED COMPANIES ARE PAYING MILLIONS TO CLEAN UP THE SITE. AND A FARMER DOWN STREAM SAYS, HE WANTS HIS LAND, RESTORED. IT’S A FIVE ACRE FISHING HOLEN O THE SAUNDERS COUNTY COUNTRYSIDE, HOLDING DECADES OF MEMORIES. >>E WTURNED IT INTO A REALLY NEAT THING. >> WE WERE CATCHING 20 INCH BASS. THEY’D BEEN THERE FOR 10 YEARS. JULIE: BUT THE SPARKLING IMAGES OF THIS PRIVATE POND ARE DECEIVG.IN 4TH GENERATION FARMER, STAN KEISER KNOWS HIS LAND ISIS H LEGACY. KEIS SAYERS THAT LEGACY IS DAMAGED. >> WE HAD SOME GOOD TIMES UP THERE AND WE WERE LOOKING FOR MORE OF THEM. BUT IT’S DESTROYED W.NO JULIE: KEISER’S’160 ACRE FARM IS SIX MILES DOWNSTREAM FROM ETH FORMER ALT-EN ETHANOL PLANT. ALT-EN WAS USING PESTICIDE TREATED SEED CORN. A YEAR LATER, KEISER SSAY EVERYTHING IN THE POND, DIED. >> IN 2016, WE LOST ALL OUR FISH UP THERE. FISH ARE REALLY SUSCTIBLEPTOE THESE PESTICES.ID WHEN THEY SEND CONTAMINATION DOWN ON YOU, IT’S BEYOND ACCEPTANCE. >> THESE FISH WOULD HAVEEEN B EXPOSED TO MULTIPLE EVENTS TOO. NOT JUST TO ONE TIME. JULIE: CREIGHTON UNIVERSITY BIOLOGIST DR. JOHN SCHALLES AND A TEAM FROM MCUN TRACED CHEMICALS FOUND ITHEN POND, TO THE ALT-EN SITE. SAMPLING SIX MILES OF CULVERTS, CONNECTING ALT-EN’S LAND TO ETH KEISER POND. THE CHEMICALS ARE STILL PRESENT, TODAY, EVEN SHOWING UP IN THE STATE’S WATER TESTING. >> THAT’S LIKE A CHEMICAL FINGERPRINT THAT WE CAN RELIABLY SAY THAT CAME FROM THE ALTN-E PLANT. JULIE: IN FEBRUARY OF 2021, TROUBLE AT THE ALT-EN PLANT RELEASED MORE RUNOFF, AND THE KEISERS SAY THEIR POND TOOK IN ANOTHER VISIE BLDOSE OF CHEMICALS CREATING THIS FOAMING MESS. THE SAME CHEMICAL FINGERPRINT IS FOUND IN TRACE AMOUNTS, IN THE KEERIS’S PRIVATE WELL, 40 FEET DOWN. >> GROUNDWATER TAKES EVEN LOERNG TO ACCUMULATE THESE LEACHEFROMS THE SITE, AND TRAVELS SLOWER. ACCUMULATE THESE LEACHES FMRO SO, IT’S AN EARLY PICTURE OF WHAT MAY BE CONGMI. JULIE: KSEEIR WANTS SOMEONE TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY. >> WHO SHOULD CLEAN THIS UP? I THINK ALT-EN SHOULD BUT THEY ARE NOT PAYING ONE PEN.NY THE SEED CORN COMPANIES ARE STEPPING UP TO THE PLATE. JULIE: SCHALLES WORRIES CLEAN UP WILL DRAG ON FOR YEA.RS >> IT’S ONE OF THOSE, GET IN LINE, BUSINESSES. JULIE: SO, KEISER IS ASKING ETH STATE AND THE SEED COMPANIES TO INCLUDE HIS FARM IN THE CURRTEN CLEAN UP PN.LA >> THE BEST THING THEY CAN DO IS CLEAN THIS UP, PUT A HARD BOTTOM DOWN AND THEN IT WON’T LEACH INTO THE AQUIFER. JULIE: HE WANTS HIS PROPERTY, HIS LECY, GARESTORED. >> THEY DON’T HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO THIS TO PRIVATE PEOPLE. JULIE: WITH 8 LAWSUITS AGAINST ALT-EN, KEISER HOPES TO FISH IN HIS OWN POND AGAIN, IN HIS LIFETIME. >> I’M OLD ENOUGH THAT I DON’T KNOW IF I’LL EVER SEE IT CLEANED UP, I WANT IT CLEANED UP FOR THE KIDS AND THE GRANDKIDS. JULIE: STAN KEISER OUTLINED HIS REQUEST FOR CLEAN UP IN A LETTER TO THE STATE, IT INCLUDES A FILTRATION SYSTEM FOR HIS LLWE WATER, AND LONG-TERM MONITORING OF HIS PROPERTY. WE CHECKED AND SO FAR, THE S

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Mead Farmer wants his poisoned pond cleaned up

Scientist: ‘It’s an early picture of what may be coming’

A farmer who lives six miles downstream from the former AltEn ethanol plant said chemicals from the factory destroyed his property and he wants the state and seed corn companies to clean up his land. “They don’t have the right to do this to private people,” said Stan Keiser, a fourth-generation farmer who farms 160 acres of corn and soybeans. Keiser said just after AltEn started processing pesticide treated seed corn, everything died in his private, five-acre fishing pond.“We lost all our fish up there. We were catching 20-inch bass. They’d been there for 10 years,” he said. In 2021, pipes burst at the plant, sending significant runoff downstream. Kaiser said the water in his pond turned yellow and foamy.Keiser said the state tested samples from the pond prior to the breach and found the same chemical fingerprint present on the property at AltEn. Creighton University Biologist, Dr. John Schalles has also been testing the pond water and ditches and culverts leading from the AltEn property to the Kaiser farm.“The culverts that carry drainage from certain locations we’ve plotted, two of them, the middle two—come right through this pond in terms of the water converging,” said Schalles. The same chemical fingerprint was found in the Keiser’s private well water. The well is 40 feet below ground. The family drinks bottled water and they have a carbon filter on their faucet.Schalles believes it’s a matter of time before the vast accumulation of concentrated pesticides at the AltEn site reaches the groundwater and impacts many more people.“Groundwater takes even longer to accumulate these leachates from the site and it travels slower. So it’s an early picture of what may be coming,” said Schalles.Schalles is part of a team of UNMC researchers who are studying the health impact of the mishandling of waste and contaminated water at the AltEn site in Mead, Nebraska. So far, state lawmakers have not signed off on funding a long term study on the mess. Keiser wrote a letter to the state asking that his property be included in the current cleanup plan. Right now, seed corn companies are shoring up the contamination only on the AltEn property. The state has not responded to his request.

MEAD, Neb. —

A farmer who lives six miles downstream from the former AltEn ethanol plant said chemicals from the factory destroyed his property and he wants the state and seed corn companies to clean up his land.

“They don’t have the right to do this to private people,” said Stan Keiser, a fourth-generation farmer who farms 160 acres of corn and soybeans. Keiser said just after AltEn started processing pesticide treated seed corn, everything died in his private, five-acre fishing pond.

“We lost all our fish up there. We were catching 20-inch bass. They’d been there for 10 years,” he said.

In 2021, pipes burst at the plant, sending significant runoff downstream. Kaiser said the water in his pond turned yellow and foamy.

Keiser said the state tested samples from the pond prior to the breach and found the same chemical fingerprint present on the property at AltEn. Creighton University Biologist, Dr. John Schalles has also been testing the pond water and ditches and culverts leading from the AltEn property to the Kaiser farm.

“The culverts that carry drainage from certain locations we’ve plotted, two of them, the middle two—come right through this pond in terms of the water converging,” said Schalles.

The same chemical fingerprint was found in the Keiser’s private well water. The well is 40 feet below ground. The family drinks bottled water and they have a carbon filter on their faucet.

Schalles believes it’s a matter of time before the vast accumulation of concentrated pesticides at the AltEn site reaches the groundwater and impacts many more people.

“Groundwater takes even longer to accumulate these leachates from the site and it travels slower. So it’s an early picture of what may be coming,” said Schalles.

Schalles is part of a team of UNMC researchers who are studying the health impact of the mishandling of waste and contaminated water at the AltEn site in Mead, Nebraska. So far, state lawmakers have not signed off on funding a long term study on the mess.

Keiser wrote a letter to the state asking that his property be included in the current cleanup plan. Right now, seed corn companies are shoring up the contamination only on the AltEn property. The state has not responded to his request.

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