IDEM approves Terre Haute response to ammonia release
The city of Terre Haute says the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has approved its action plan to deal with an accidental discharge of “high strength ammonia water” into the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Our partners at WTWO-TV report officials from IDEM visited the city on Monday for an inspection and signed off on the utility department’s response to restore operations to normal.
The city says ammonia entered into the municipal sewer system last Friday after being released from an un-named source. It caused damage to the biological treatment used to clean wastewater. Terre Haute says the damage is not permanent, however the ammonia did impact seven of the 18 tanks the facility uses to treat wastewater.
“Thanks to recent upgrades and the improved capacity of our wastewater plan, we were able to sequester the ammonia-impacted wastewater into those self-contained tanks, which prevented damage to the Wabash River,” said Debbie Padgett, director of Terre Haute Wastewater Utility in a statement.
She says with the support of several local wastewater treatment plants, the facility is rebuilding its microbial population that function to clean wastewater.
The city has not named the manufacturer responsible for the ammonia discharge. However, Padgett said her office has been in regular communication with the local industry and are working to mitigate the damage and the temporary loss of function at the wastewater treatment facility.
The city says there is no danger to residential or commercial users or any environmental impacts on the Wabash River.