ST. PETERS (KPLR) - Piles of foam that keep washing up alongside a highway in St. Peters has residents worried. They want to know what it is and if it's dangerous.
Residents said the foam has piled up eight feet high; it's blown into their trees and through their yards. St. Peters city officials said they’re looking into it. They believe they know what it is and where it's coming from. They want it stopped.
By late Friday afternoon, people driving along Salt River Road near Highway 79 had to be looking for it to even notice the bubbles collecting below the storm water culvert. It smells like laundry soap or bathroom cleaner as it comes out of the culvert, with bigger puddles forming on the other side of the highway. They stop in spots and hang up on vegetation, seemingly seeping into the ground.
“It can be massive. They’ve had to stop traffic because it was rolling across the road and they couldn’t see to drive – and taller than you,” said long-time resident Pat Kumer.
They have photos going back years with the foam as high as passing cars.
City leaders believe it’s coming from here the nearby Reckitt Benckiser plant, which produces things like Lysol, Woolite, and a host of cleaning products, with labels warning about the dangers of having those products coming into contact with your eyes or being ingested.
When residents see “hills” of foam and workers wearing protective gear to examine the foam, they don’t see how it can be a good thing.
“Is it a contaminant? Is it poisonous? If it’s not, why do they come down here with a mask and rubber gloves. It kind of scares you,” Kumer said.
A St. Peters spokeswoman said the company maintains the foam is not harmful, that it's essentially "soap bubbles.”
Still, the city said this is not acceptable; city officials will be meeting with company officials next week. Residents are contacting the EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to investigate.