Cleanup to begin after fire and spill in Slaughter

Workers are expected to begin Wednesday to demolish buildings destroyed by a spectacular Nov. 19 fire at Monolyte Laboratories Inc., the man in charge of the environmental cleanup said.

Mark Allen of United States Environmental Services briefed more than 50 Slaughter residents on cleanup progress at a Tuesday meeting called by the mayor and aldermen.

The company made a product used by wastewater treatment facilities and oilfield sites to help clarify water that has been discharged.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by insurance company investigators, Allen said. The buildings should be leveled after about seven days of work, depending on whether investigators are finished inspecting them, he said.

Allen praised area firefighters for, not only extinguishing the huge fire, but also damming up ditches to prevent runoff water from going farther away from the plant.

“If it wasn’t for the fire departments, it would have been a bigger mess,” Allen said.

All ditches leading from the site are clean except one where the town of Slaughter has an “anode bed” for its cathodic protection system that prevents underground utility lines from corroding. All corrugated metal culverts will be replaced, Allen said, because workers have difficulty in removing the company’s polymer product from them.

Allen said he was unable to say when Meadowood Drive, which runs by the plant site, can be reopened to traffic.

The state Department of Environmental Quality will insist on returning the area to its same, or better, pre-fire environmental condition, Allen said.

The company will take more than 100 soil samples for testing before DEQ approves the cleanup, Allen said.

Mayor Robert Jackson said DEQ representatives will be invited to the town’s Board of Aldermen meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 11 to answer questions about the cleanup.