No foul play suspected at Valdosta plant fire

Crews arrive and employees leave the scene of a fire at 1612 James P. Rodgers Circle in the Azalea East Industrial Park Wednesday afternoon. / Brandon Powers | Valdosta Daily Times

The following information was released by the City of Valdosta via press release:

Valdosta Fire Department officials continue investigating the cause of the August 14 chemical fire at PermaFix of South Georgia.

On August 19, investigators were able to conduct interviews with two key witnesses to learn more about the accident.

"The Valdosta Fire Department does not suspect any foul play," said Valdosta Fire Chief J.D. Rice. "We want to gather additional information from the employees involved to shed light on what happened. After the interviews today, we should have an answer on the probable cause of the fire."

Chief Rice met with Environmental Protection Agency and Georgia Environmental Protection Division officials at the PermaFix site on Monday to address public and environmental concerns. Although the Perma-Fix facility managed hazardous and non-hazardous industrial waste, no radioactive or nuclear products were processed through the facility. The EPD and EPA officials confirmed that everything that can be done is being done to monitor any effects of the chemical fire to local water, air and soil.

Soil and water tests have been conducted every day since the incident. None of the test results have shown any level of adverse environmental impact on our ground water and local water ways.

Atmospheric testing has also been conducted and results show no indication of levels that would be harmful to the public. Testing will continue through next week.

Chief Rice also confirmed with the environmental officials that the products used at PermaFix will not be disposed of in our county. Since very few facilities in Georgia are set up to handle hazardous wasteâ"and Valdosta-Lowndes County is not one of themâ"the products will be taken offsite to an EPD-approved waste disposal site.

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