Agencies investigate environmental impact of fire in Butler County

Multiple agencies are investigating a fire that consumed more than an acre of plastic outside a Butler County company Sunday, creating “huge plumes of black smoke.”

The blaze, which St. Clair Twp. Fire Chief Larry Anglin said created “one big glob of plastic” in a supply yard of Advanced Drainage Systems, 2650 Hamilton Eaton Road, took approximately 90 minutes to fully extinguish and snarled traffic in the area as a portion of Hamilton-Eaton Road was shut down to non-emergency personnel.

FIRST REPORT: Large fire at business near Hamilton leaves ‘one big glob of plastic’

Ohio Environmental Protection Agency staff visited the site to evaluate firefighting water runoff to Cotton Run and soil on the property, according to spokeswoman Dina Pierce.

“Today the creek was flowing clear,” Pierce told the Journal-News. “The material that burned is HDPE (high-density polyethylene pipe) plastic piping, which melted in the fire and solidified in the facility yard.”

No violations have been cited by Ohio EPA, she said.

Officials with ADS did not respond to requests for comment.

Jim Bolen, planning and operations manager for the Butler County Emergency Management Agency said the Ohio EPA and his group have been working together to determine the extent of any lingering environmental hazards from Sunday’s fire.

“We have been in contact subsequently with the Ohio EPA and one of our employees was out there on the scene with Ohio EPA’s onsite coordinator to look over and make sure that there were no lingering hazards,” Bolen said. “The Ohio EPA onsite coordinator is satisfied with the work that ADS, the fire department and the ADS environmental contractor has done so far.”

OTHER: Clean-up completed after mercury spill in Franklin

ADS has been cooperative so far in the investigation, according to Bolen.

“They are working with EPA’s groundwater division to make sure that there was no issue with the runoff,” Bolen said. “We have confirmation from Ohio EPA as far as their environmental response is concerned that there are no lingering issues, but they are still looking into the groundwater.”

Bolen added that he believes it is important to “make sure people know how well the fire department did in its response to this massive fire.”

Anglin said on Monday that there were no new details to report about the blaze.

MORE: EPA begins removal, sampling of chemicals found in house fire

911 calls obtained by this news outlet indicate several callers reported seeing “smoke for miles.” One caller said she saw “huge plumes of black smoke” billowing from the plant while another said her husband was an ADS employee, and wanted to report “flames and smoke” being visible but not damaging the plant.

Advanced Drainage Systems develops “products and services that help solve storm water management and sanitary sewer challenges,” according to the company’s website.

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