MPCA Says They Didn't Detect Harmful Chemicals In Air Tests

MPCA Says They Didn't Detect Harmful Chemicals In Air Tests Click to Enlarge Photo: Ryan Hiltner

(KNSI) - Officials say the air around Becker and Big Lake is similar to the rest of the state after a massive fire at the Northern Metals Recycling plant sent tons of smoke and fumes in the air this week.

The Becker Police Department says testing by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency were from samples taken Thursday.

The MPCA tests can detect the presence of far more chemicals than tests done on Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday by the hazardous materials emergency response team.

All of the tests didn't detect the presence of harmful chemicals in the air at numerous locations, including at the schools in Becker and Big Lake.

Results of similar testing that would detect lead will be available soon.

The MPCA staff used monitors to test for particulate matter in real-time. The tests show the particulates at similar levels to the metro area and aren't considered a concern.

The MPCA is not planning any additional air monitoring in the areas affected by the plume.

Ash and other residues that became airborne and drifted into the nearby area will be sampled.

Once the fire is out, the focus will change to assessing potential environmental impacts on groundwater, surface water, and soils.

Firefighting efforts have been passed to a private company hired by Northern Metals Recycling.

The fire has been reduced to a few smoldering spots and could be out by the end of the weekend.

Officials will continue to monitor any potential environmental impact through the weekend.

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