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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Brazil warned of contaminated water

Thursday, January 22, 2004

An investigation continues into what type of herbicide spilled into Little Walnut Creek in Putnam County, turning the water green for a two-mile stretch Tuesday evening.

And until the specific type of herbicide is determined, residents along the creek are advised to keep livestock and domestic pets away from the tainted water.

At 6 p.m., the Madison Township Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to Bridge 111, near the old No. 10 schoolhouse, for a reported chemical spill in the creek.

Three Madison units arrived at the scene and first attempted to contain the chemical spill with buoys, but were unsuccessful. Firefighters then built a primary and secondary dam using hay bales and rocks, which contained most of the spill.

"The water was just moving so fast," Madison Fire Chief Shawn Little told the Banner-Graphic Wednesday morning about spill. Due to the creek's fast moving current, the herbicide contaminated an estimated one to two miles of water, Little said.

During their attempts to find the source of the spill, firefighters discovered a silver paint can floating in the water. The paint can had been filled with an orange substance. Firefighters determined that once the orange herbicide touched the water, the water turned a green color.

No other paint cans with the orange substance were found along the creek bed.

The Greencastle and Van Bibber Lake fire departments were also on hand to assist with the investigation and containment at the scene.

"It was an outstanding mutual aid effort by all the departments involved," Little commented. "I need to applaud Van Bibber and Greencastle in helping us stop this...we'd still be out there."

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is researching the herbicide sample to determine its type. More specific information may take a few days.

In the meantime, Little urges, "Property owners along Little Walnut need to keep livestock and domestic pets out of the water."

If residents near Little Walnut Creek have any questions or concerns, contact IDEM representative Kim Hyten at 653-5727.

Mayor Tom Arthur called a press conference Wednesday afternoon to inform the public that Brazil's well field was going to be shut down this morning at 6:30 a.m. It is scheduled to be turned off for 12 hours. Citizens are asked to conserve their water usage during this time.

Samuel Moore, owner of Samuel Moore Engineering, has been coordinating with IDEM on investigating the spill. He said that Brazil "probably won't be affected," but it would be "best to let it go on downstream."

The city has five wells in operation, all about 60 feet deep. There are about 2 million gallons stored, which could, if necessary, last up to 24 hours.

Arthur has contacted all area volunteer fire departments, who will be on call until the situation is resolved. In case of a fire emergency, water can be drained from the reservoir at Craig Park.

Arthur added that towns surrounding Brazil, such as Carbon and Center Point, that the city provides with water will also be affected.

No plans have been made yet concerning what the city will do if the water must be shut off for longer than 24 hours. The well field should be turned on again around 6:30 p.m., unless IDEM directs the water company to do otherwise.

The Banner Graphic contributed to this report.



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