Southeast Minnesota Landfill Fire Posing Potential Health Risks to Public and Environment
Faribault, MN (KROC-AM News)- Health officials are warning of possible human and environmental health hazards following a fire at Rice County’s landfill.
An update on the situation issued Wednesday by Rice County Public Health said the fire broke out Monday night. The Rice County Landfill is located off of Hwy. 3, about 7 miles north of Faribault.
Local officials alerted the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to the fire and are now assessing potential issues and concerns surrounding fallout from the fire. Rice County officials say smoke and ash from landfill fires can contain particulate matter that causes respiratory issues especially for individuals with pre-existing conditions.
Recommended precautions include staying away from local sources of air pollution, limiting or postponing physical activity and staying indoors. Health officials say anyone with asthma or other respiratory conditions like COPD should make sure they have their rescue or relief inhalers with them.
The cause of the landfill fire is unknown. Officials said Wednesday debris was still smoldering at the landfill and say it’s difficult to predict when it will be put out.
The landfill was closed to the public on Wednesday. Rice County officials are in contact with the MPCA Northfield Fire and Air Rescue and are working to determine when conditions at the landfill are safe for community members and employees. Licensed garbage haulers have had access to landfill since the fire broke out.