Hazardous material containers adrift in the Missouri River

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The spring floods have put a fall threat into the Missouri River. Hazardous material containers are adrift in the water.

Hazardous material containers adrift in the Missouri River

Massive containers that potentially contain dangerous chemicals have been making their way downriver. The Missouri Department of Natural Resources says the containers are coming from Nebraska and Iowa.

Stefan White, president of Kansas City’s Friends of the River, called this a, "pretty incredible year of just water levels across the entire state and the region."

White’s organization cleans up the Missouri River around Kansas City. A lot of work goes into it so White says it's disappointing to hear that thousands of gallons of chemicals are out there. He said there's always the risk that the containers will hit something like a bridge or boulder.

"You run the risk of hairline fractures in that metal and some of that stuff leaking out or becoming exposed," he said.

Environmental scientist Stephen McLane said the containers are likely from farmers who weren't able to save them from flooding.

“We had a lot of flooding in Missouri but we knew our flooding was coming. The folks in Iowa and Nebraska had little to no notice."

McLane said the containers range from small buckets to 500,000 gallon tanks.

So far this year the Department of Natural Resources has found more than 740 containers – many with diesel fuel, pesticides, or ammonia inside.

McLane said, “We're reaching out to the Ag and hunting community to help us locate any of those that they may find."

But McLane said it's been difficult and he wants to remind people who live in flood plains to write their contact information on chemical containers. He said the agency expects to be collecting them through at least January.

White hopes the job gets done. “As long as we're getting them out of the river and out of the river corridor, that's the most important part."

Those along the path of the wayward containers are advised to avoid contact with them and report them to the Department of Natural Resources.