Iowa committed to paying $1.4 Million in expenses related to C6-Zero explosion

Published: Feb. 10, 2023 at 7:41 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The state of Iowa has committed to spending more than $1.4 Million to fire departments and a private company incorporated in Texas for expenses related to a fire at a C6-Zero plant in Marengo.

The fire, which injured at least 10 people, happened in December after an explosion. Before the explosion, documents from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) show officials tried to get the company to comply with Iowa regulations multiple times.

According to one contract TV9 received, the state will pay Tetrasolv Services $834,740 to remove chemicals from a stormwater basin. This includes PFOA and PFOS, which the United States Environmental Protection Agency calls PFAS. According to the contract, the deal will ensure PFAS are treated to below detection levels before being discharged into the Iowa River and prevent flood waters from causing damage.

Tammie Krausman, who is a public information officer for DNR, said the state is paying for the contract to get the work started as soon as possible. She added the state will seek reimbursement from C6-Zero in an email.

The contract said the funding to treat the stormwater will come from the American Rescue Plan Act funds, which gave states money in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, a spokesperson for the Governor’s office said the contract isn’t using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act. TV9 reached out to the Governor’s Office late for clarification and hasn’t heard back by publication.

Kollin Crompton, who is deputy communications director for Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), said the state was also making available around $600,000 for fire departments responding to the explosion at C6-Zero. He said the funding for this came from the American Rescue Plan funds.

The Marengo Fire Department said the damage it received from the fire could cost the department $80,000 in December 2022. Mark Swift, who is the department’s treasurer, said one problem was oil stains on gear because it’s not ideal to fight a fire with flammable material.

Travis Schlabach, who is the assistant fire chief for the department, said they had to replace drop tanks and other pieces of equipment because it was damaged. He said the funds provided by the Governor’s Office means doesn’t have to spend additional money to keep his volunteers safe.

“The best part is just the safety,” Schlabach said. “Knowing that I have the money now to put safe gear on all the firemen that did have gear that was damaged. That way when we have that next fire, once they get their new gear, they’ll be safe and can go home to their families at night.”

He said other fire departments had damage as well. Josh Humphrey, who is the emergency manager for Iowa County Emergency Management, said in an email the funding will help 25 different fire agencies get back to pre-event conditions. He said the amount is based on information he collected from different fire departments, who responded.

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Department will manage the process. Humphrey said his agency would act as the local manager.