Saltwater disposal plant burns

With towering plumes of black smoke and an orange blaze that could be seen for miles, Yorktown and Nordheim Volunteer Fire Departments responded to a fire at approximately 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, July 5 at a saltwater disposal plant located at 2805 West State Highway 72 between Yorktown and Nordheim. The highway was shut down for approximately four hours because of the fire and smoke.

The disposal plant is owned by Pyote Reclamation Systems.

According to Cyndi Smith, DeWitt County Emergency Management Coordinator, fire departments closed West State Highway 72 to traffic upon arrival at the scene of the fire. Firefighters immediately began to put out the grass fire that had started due to the fire. By 6:50 p.m., all grass fires had been extinguished. Air quality was continually monitored for safety of all in the area. A decision was made to allow the fire to burn itself out. 

At approximately 7:15 p.m., an explosion of a tank occurred from the heat of the fire. As the fire burned down to a safe distance from the road and the determination was made there was no danger to persons traveling on the road, the road was reopened at to traffic at 10 p.m. Crews remained on the scene throughout the night, monitoring the progress of the fire.

Smith notes there were no injuries to the worker on the site or to any of the firefighters. The cause of the fire has not been determined and will be investigated by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the Texas Railroad Commission.

This is the second saltwater disposal plant fire within the past eight months along the same highway. 

Firefighters responded to a fire at Basic Energy on Thieme Road near Nordheim on Tuesday, November 15, 2016 following an explosion and resulting fire at the saltwater disposal site. A portion of State Highway 72 was closed for almost six hours. No injuries were reported. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) and Texas Railroad Commission were notified of the fire.

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