Denali’s Gideon basin deemed unfit

The integrity of Denali Water Solution’s Gideon storage basin in McDonald County has been compromised.

Heather Peters, with the Water Pollution Section of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (DNR) said her department investigated the condition of the basin after an area resident reported that the basin’s liner appeared to have floated to the surface.

“We discovered that a portion of the liner had, indeed, surfaced,” Peters said. “There appears to be a tear in the liner that has allowed liquid of some sort to sink below it.”

Located on property owned by Keith Gideon near Stella, the basin – operational since 2021 – once stored some 15-million gallons of meat-processing and other types of processing waste from some 100-plus industries from around the nation. As the result of a November 2023 edict from the DNR, the basin was in the process of being emptied.

“Now, that emptying process will need to be expedited,” Peters said.

Peters said her department is still trying to determine the extent of the damage, and how much liquid lies below the liner. No matter what they discover, Peters said the basin will have to be emptied.

“The basin will no longer meet our standards, and it cannot be used again for the same purpose,” Peters said. “Basins of this sort, in general, have to have significantly compacted ground below the liner, before the liner is put in; but, we don’t have any knowledge of whether [the Gideon] basin was constructed in that way.”

In January 2023, Peters said her department received no information about the design for the Gideon lagoon. At that time, Denali’s Gideon storage basin in McDonald County, near Stella, and its Evans basin in Newton County, near Fairview, were exempt from DNR regulations and oversight of their construction, Peters said. That status has since changed.

Both the Gideon and Evans basins will be subject to new regulations if pending House Bills 2134 and 1956 – which recently passed both arms of the legislature — are signed into law by Gov. Mike Parson.

With its structural integrity compromised, it appears that the Gideon lagoon’s fate has already been decided – with or without the governor’s signature.

“The emptying of the basin will need to be expedited, and no land-application of materials will be allowed around the basin,” Peters said.

Peters did reaffirm that permits will need to be approved by the DNR for land-application by any company, not just Denali.

“We don’t have land-application permits pending for Denali,” Peters said.

In Barry and McDonald Counties, land-application permits have been proposed for Bub’s, Inc., Synagro Central and HydroAg Environmental. The Synagro and HydroAg permits are pending an in-person public hearing in Barry County, with date and location yet to be determined.

“We’ll make the announcement at least 30 days in advance of the hearing,” Peters said.


  1. It’s unbelievable that Denali and companies like them who land apply sludge can call themselves sustainable and pretend to be helping the environment while obviously doing the opposite. I wonder what Walmart who they’ve partnered with think of the negative publicity. The only thing “green”about Denali is the algae in the water where they dump.

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