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Mead residents call for more action over ethanol plant concern

A glimmer of hope Monday night for those who say contamination from an ethanol plant in Mead is making them and their pets sick.
Published: Apr. 12, 2021 at 11:09 PM CDT
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MEAD, Neb. (WOWT) - A glimmer of hope Monday night for those who say contamination from an ethanol plant in Mead is making them and their pets sick.

In February, the state force the plant to temporarily shut down and later filed a lawsuit over violation of environmental regulations.

Mead resident, Jody Weible said, “In 2018 we noticed just a horrendous smell, there isn’t a way to describe it dead, rotten, sweet, acidic, all in one.”

Weible has been calling for action for years. Surrounded by a church full of others, worried the ethanol plant nearby has been contaminating their air, water, and land.

“In 2018, when they first started spreading the byproduct on the fields all three of our dogs became violently ill,” said Paula Dyas, who lives on an acreage near Mead.

The AltEn plant is under scrutiny for using seed corn coated in pesticides in the processing of ethanol. Stockpiling residue on site and spreading it on the field, the plant’s wastewater spilled into waterways.

“2019 it’s spread again and dogs are sick again,” said Dyas.

Testing by the state in 2019 showed pesticide levels far exceeding the EPA’s threshold.

“I’m so glad to see so many people here and I’m hoping we can come together and resolve this and get it taken care of without any further damage to our environment,” said Weible.

Calling for assurance of quick clean up of the waste, UNMC announced last week it’s launching a massive study into health and environmental impact of the plant.

“And the observation I would make about that is not one of the researchers on that list is from Monsanto, or Dupont, Pioneer, or any industry,” said Dave Domina, Attorney with Domina Law Group.

A move in the right direction according to Domina, who said the research will help get the answers.

“One of the things that needs to happen in the United States is we need to take our research back from industry and put it in the hands of the people,” said Domina.

UNMC’s $10 million, estimated 10-year study will include the following medical journeys of volunteer Mead residents.

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