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Monday, May 2, 2016

Stone company, cited by IDEM, has cleaned up its act, owners say

Friday, April 14, 2006

- "We're not happy that we have discolored water going into Craig Park, but it really has not caused the whole pond to look discolored. We have been assured that it is okay."

Brazil Parks and Recreation Board President

Ruthann Jeffries

A Brazil company charged with violating state environmental rules has already cleaned up its act, according to its owners.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) cited the Western Indiana Stone Company, 201 N. Sherman St., for allowing run-off from its limestone-cutting operation to enter municipal water supplies, an IDEM spokesperson said.

A notice of violation was issued after a series of evaluations performed by IDEM and the City of Brazil between June and November of 2005. According to those studies, contaminated wastewater from the stone-cutting plant entered a storm drain and eventually found its way to the storm water retention pond at Craig Park.

Amy Hartsock, a public information officer for IDEM, said the owners of Western Indiana Stone (also known as Mansfield Stone Company) have cooperated with state officials and expressed a willingness to address the issue.

"I don't think there's anything we've seen so far to indicate that we won't be able to solve this through the administrative process we're working on right now," she said.

Bob Nevins, who co-owns Western Indiana Stone with Kenneth R. Pickett, claims the problem has already been remedied. Nevins said the drain that was funneling the water into city storm sewers had been re-routed by the end of March.

While Nevins has agreed to cooperate with IDEM in bringing the stone-cutting operation back into compliance, he said environmental restrictions aimed at businesses like his are unnecessarily stringent.

"The by-product of sawing stone is used for glass manufacturing, as a turkey food supplement, as a filler in heart medications," he said. "That's how terribly dangerous it is."

Hartsock said the pollution, "a milky white color discharge," according to the citation, will not affect Brazil's residential water supply.

The negative effects of the pollution Western Indiana Stone was producing are mainly cosmetic, according to Brazil Parks and Recreation Board President Ruthann Jeffries.

"We're not happy that we have discolored water going into Craig Park, but it really has not caused the whole pond to look discolored," she said. "We have been assured that it is okay."

Jeffries said she received assurances from IDEM that fish and other aquatic life in the pond will not be adversely affected. She added she wasn't informed of the 2005 investigation until last week.

"After the testing came in, evidently there was no problem and we were not notified," she said.

Western Indiana Stone will likely avoid any penalties for the infraction, Hartsock said. Without the stone-cutter's cooperation, she said IDEM could have assessed fines of up to $25,000 per day for each of three code violations related to the run-off issue.



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