EPA: Foam along interstate identified


By Jessica Johnston, Assistant News Director

This story has been updated with information from the EPA as of 4:54 p.m.

The unnatural foam spotted along the I-70 ramps in Norwich on Sunday has made a return.

Muskingum County EMA Director Jeff Jadwin said the source of where the foam is producing has been located, and the Ohio EPA is supervising its cleanup. Crews spent part of the day spraying water on the substance to break it down before pumping water out of the pond where the foam was found to keep it from reproducing.

Anthony Chenault, a Media Coordinator for the EPA, said Zemba Bros., Inc. has taken responsibility for the incident.

“Zemba Bros Inc. has taken responsibility for the discharge, which occurred after spent lime from a drinking water plant had been applied on property located along Interstate 70 westbound in Perry Township,” Chenault said in an email. “According to Zemba Bros., the truck used to apply the spent lime may have had residual material left in the vessel that led to the foaming.”

The significant amount of rain overnight caused the foaming earlier Friday, Chenault said.

Crews from Zemba Bros. worked to remove the foam along Route 40 in Norwich Friday afternoon.

“It starts just north of the interstate and flows underneath both lanes of the interstate down to 40 and then comes west running along 40 to Salt Creek,” Jadwin said. “They have some on Salt Creek, but not much.”

The substance has been tested and Jadwin said it’s a sort of additive that’s used with soaps and other materials. Fortunately, the foam is non-toxic and does not smell. There is less than one-tenth of a percent of the substance in the water.

“We’ve tested the water. The water is fine,” Jadwin said. “It’s just a matter of getting it cleaned up and trying to keep it from getting into the cricks and foaming up again.”

It’s unclear how the additive got in the area. Jadwin said the EPA is investigating the cause.

Chenault said Zemba Bros., Inc. is emptying a stormwater management pond on the property where the substance is to prevent the discharge from entering the stream.

The water pumped out of the pond will be kept in tanks until a plan is put in place to dispose of the water, Chenault said in an email. No wildlife was impacted due to the incident.