UPDATE: Crews Begin Clean-Up Process at Nova-Kem Plant

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UPDATE: SEWARD (WIFR) – More than a month after a chemical plant explosion that evacuated the village of Seward, crews finally begin the clean-up process.

Today was the first day of clean-up at Nova-Kem since the plant exploded on June 2nd.

About 15 workers are on site today, cleaning up around the outside of the three building. Three local contractors and another from Wisconsin are helping tear down external pieces. Tomorrow, crews will go inside the facility to remove any remaining chemical containers but contractors say they don’t expect any major hazards.

“Every container we’ve found in the walkway or the ones in the pull barn, have all been burned out and empty, so we’re anticipating two or three things we may have to deal with, but most of the time, it’s going to be empty containers and something that just needs to be cleaned up and shipped off properly,” said contractor Maury Daubs.

Other than the three firefighters who went inside the plant to make sure the fire was completely out, no one else has been inside the facility since the explosion. The cause is still unknown and the clean-up process is expected to take seven to ten days.


SEWARD (WIFR) -- Employees at Nova-Kem hope to start cleaning up the explosion site next week. A contractor for the company says workers are waiting on permission to get into the building which is expected to be demolished once the waste is cleared out.

Workers say they will likely remove sections of the roof and clean-up should take a couple of weeks.

The company is not sure whether it will rebuild. Right now, leftover inventory is being sent to Nova-Kem’s facility in Wisconsin.


SEWARD (WIFR) -- It's been a week and a half since an explosion and fire at the Nova-Kem plant in Seward. People who live around the area still have a lot of questions and Tuesday night they brought those questions to the township board.

Sandi Milburn lives just hundreds of feet from the now burned up Nova-Kem plant. She was home a week and a half ago when it caught on fire.

"I was counting the explosions for a while and I finally quit at 35," she said.

What Milburn says is even scarier than the explosions is not knowing what happens next.

"What happens to you today may not show up five or six years from now," Milburn said.

And Milburn isn't alone. About 30 people who live near the plant packed the township board meeting for answers.

"We're working with the EPA, they have contacted me, they are having a new meeting coming up in about two weeks and they'll be testing more," Gareot Stahl, Seward Township Supervisor, said.

One of the main concerns -- if Nova-Kem will rebuild, and how residents can stop it. If Nova-Kem doesn't meet zoning ordinances the company will have to go thought the zoning board of appeals before rebuilding, and that's where residents come in.

"The residents can come and testify pro or against whether they feel the standards are being met and health and safety is one of the standards that have to be met," Winnebago County Board District 1 Representative Lynne Strathman, said.

Milburn says it's going to take everyone to stand up to Nova-Kem and keep it out of Seward.

"I am adamant, not in my township and if people in the community don't pull behind the township board and support this effort, there are too many people that are removed from this situation on the zoning board that don't have a clue what we've been through and we've been through it twice now," Milburn said.


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