Nothing unusual yet, but IDEM continues to monitor area around Lami-Plast

Authorities have been monitoring air quality and water runoff in area of Lami-Plast fire.

Posted on Feb. 3, 2014 at 5:18 p.m.

ELKHART — Though the fire continues at the Lami-Plast plant on Woodlawn Avenue, officials still haven’t found any reason to be concerned about the environmental impact on the surrounding area.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management had investigators on site Sunday, Feb. 2, monitoring both air quality and water runoff but did not find anything troublesome.

"We are not seeing any signs that fire suppression runoff has affected the area," said Amy Smith, IDEM's public information officer.

In situations like the Lami-Plast fire, Smith said the biggest concerns are high levels of ammonia found in ash, oil and other contaminants that could enter either the water or air in the area.

Investigators took samples from Lily Creek, which is the body of water closest to the site.

The typical response to the discovery of contaminants in water is to contain the area and then determine whether the impact is large enough to begin a full-scale cleanup, Smith said.

But despite the large amounts of smoke rising from the facility and the water used to try to extinguish the flames, IDEM investigators haven't seen anything they don't normally see with fires.

Still, IDEM is planning to stay vigilant until all parties are sure the scene is under control.

Investigators planned to return to the site sometime Monday to continue to monitor Lami-Plast's surrounding environment. Smith said the agency will continue to work and stay in contact with emergency crews on the scene as long as they are needed.

"We will continue to monitor until we believe everything is being managed," she said.


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