Updated 02/26/2013 06:31 PM
Fire crews continue to monitor smoldering compost fire
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Fire crews on Tuesday continued to monitor piles of compost burning in southeast Travis County.
Several large compost piles at the Hornsby Bend waste water treatment plant near Austin-Bergstrom International Airport caught fire Monday. Officials said high winds fanned the natural, internal heat of the composting process, causing the piles to ignite spontaneously and send a plume of smoke high into the air.
Fire at the water treatment plant was knocked down Monday, but smoke is still a concern.
Fire crews were dispatched to nearby neighborhoods with air monitoring devices to determine if any harmful chemicals are being emitted.
Jason Hill with Austin Water Utility said crews have detected minimal readings of carbon monoxide or any other harmful chemicals in the air at this time.
“We're making sure that there is no public health threat with the smoke," Hill said.
While the fire is of no threat to the public, it is expected to smolder for several days, perhaps longer than a week, because of the piles’ massive size.
Fire crews will stay on scene until it's declared out, and police will watch for smoke on nearby roads.