EPA looks for water contamination near Birds Point levee

May 24, 2011

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking for possible water contamination in Southeastern Missouri, in the area affected by the Birds Point levee breach.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers blew up a Mississippi River levee at Birds Point on May 2 to protect upstream communities like Cairo, Ill.

The levee breach flooded 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland, including a confined animal feeding operation.

Three weeks after the blast, EPA is doing a day of water sampling to look for hazardous materials that may have been released during the flood.

Those include chemicals from the blasting explosives, agricultural pesticides, petroleum products and coliform bacteria from livestock wastes.