Six seed companies have formed a coalition and applied to clean up environmental contamination at a currently inoperative AltEn ethanol plant near Mead, Nebraska.

The AltEn Facility Response Group — comprised of AgReliant Genetics, Bayer U.S., Beck’s Superior Hybrids, Corteva Agriscience, Syngenta Seeds and WinField Solutions — filed an application to the Nebraska Voluntary Cleanup Program to clean up the contaminated waste that was produced after AltEn used seed corn treated with pesticides to produce ethanol.

According to an Emergency Complaint and Order issued by the Nebraska Department of Environment and Energy (NDEE) on Feb. 20, AltEn produced both wastewater and distiller’s grain that contained “high levels” of pesticide residue. The AltEn plant was shut down in February.

“This is a positive step towards implementing the long-term response actions needed at this facility,” Ed Chu, the acting regional administrator for Region 7 of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in a release. He said local EPA officials would continue “to provide support and assistance to NDEE" so the contamination can be "properly and fully addressed.”

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According to a release, the coalition will continue “interim remedial measures” at the site and work on developing a Remedial Action Plan for long-term cleanup. This action plan will first be subject to public notice and comment, and then to NDEE review and approval.

The release states that the companies in the coalition have been voluntarily helping with cleanup since Feb. 12, mostly through regulating wastewater lagoon levels and managing the “environmental impacts of wet cake and waste materials” through containment and stormwater management.

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