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Ice Cream Spill in Iowa Reaches Plymouth County Stream
USAgNet - 05/20/2011

About 1,000 gallons of dilute ice cream solution spilled in Le Mars early Wednesday morning with some of the solution reaching a tributary of the Floyd River in Plymouth County.

The spill occurred about 1 a.m. at Wells Enterprises due to operator error. Workers at the manufacturing plant estimated spillage at between 800 and 1,200 gallons. They placed special mats over the storm sewer grates and successfully prevented some of the solution from running into the storm sewer.

The rest ran into the storm sewer where it mixed with water from a cooling tower and ran into the tributary. With stream levels high, and the relatively small amount and dilution of the ice cream solution, the DNR does not anticipate a fish kill or other environmental impact.

The DNR will send the company a letter citing them for late reporting. Spills and hazardous conditions must be reported to the DNR as soon as possible but not later than six hours after the onset or discovery. Report spills to the DNR's 24-hour spill line at 515-281-8694.

Depending upon specific conditions and quantities, products high in organic matter--like milk, ice cream, silage and hay -- can cause oxygen levels in streams to drop, resulting in the loss of aquatic life.

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