Winona Lake Chemical Spill Results Announced

None of the 58 chemical contaminants tested for in Winona Lake following the February chemical plant fire were found at detectable levels, according to the Center for Lakes and Streams.
The center sampled the lake near the spill location Feb. 13, one week after approximately 325,000 gallons of water used to contain the Warsaw Chemical Co. fire carried chemicals downhill into Winona Lake. Samples showed normal water quality measurements of dissolved oxygen, pH and conductivity, and none of the chemical contaminants tested for were found at detectable levels, the center announced today.
Nate Bosch, center director, said in the announcement, “We are happy that we have not identified any remaining human health concerns related to this spill in Winona Lake. We need to recognize that it could have been much worse and work to prevent these situations in the future.” 
Several chemicals initially entered the lake at high concentrations, including n-butyl acetate, ethylbenzene; m-,p- and o-xylene; toluene, trichloroethene and methanol, according to the center. Initial higher concentrations of chemicals that ranged from 730 to 4,784 parts per billion were diluted down in the lake following the spill to the range of 0.04 to 0.3 ppb, at the most. These are very small concentrations and well below human health guidelines, the announcement states.
Chemical measurements will be confirmed by the Center for Lakes and Streams when the lake is fully mixed now that the ice has come off the lake. Potential impacts to wildlife will become fully apparent as the summer months approach. 
The center responded to the spill immediately and collected several samples from Winona Lake at the scene as well as several days following the incident. The center tested for 58 chemicals in the lake one week after the spill, and while sample analysis results revealed no detectable levels of these chemicals. several chemicals entered Winona Lake other than those originally anticipated.
The center hosted a group of community leaders including members of the Winona Lake Preservation Association, Town of Winona Lake and City of Warsaw on April 1 to further discuss steps toward action. 
The group discussed both short-term and long-term prevention measures. Actions discussed that can be enacted immediately included, primarily, providing business education as well as community education, pre-planning for similar events, teaching best management practices and reaching out to learn from other communities that can be good examples. 
Possible long-term solutions discussed included looking into updating ordinances, discussing containment solutions, pursuing a filtration system and exploring storm water base-flow issues, according to the center. 

(Story By The Times Union)