By ANDY MCCAMMON
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) has levied fines against a local limestone-cutting operation that allowed wastewater from its plant to enter the city's water supply.
The agency ordered Western Indiana Stone, LLC, also known as Mansfield Stone, to pay a $3,000 fine and adhere to a rigorous "compliance program" or face additional penalties. Western Indiana Stone was cited March 21 for allowing stone-cutting run-off to enter the Craig Park retention pond, though IDEM noted that the pollution did not threaten the city's residential water supply.
Ruthann Jeffries, president of the Brazil Parks and Recreation Board, said Wednesday any problems caused by the pollution were "very minimal," but she agrees with the state's judgment against the company.
"I think if they were violating the codes, they should be penalized," she said.
According to the order issued May 25 to Western Indiana Stone co-owners Robert Nevins and Kenneth R. Pickett, the company "allowed limestone cutting wastewater to enter a storm sewer...which ultimately is collected in a retention pond...in an amount sufficient to be unsightly."
During a June 7, 2005, investigation, IDEM officials observed a "milky white discharge" entering a storm sewer. A subsequent investigation on Nov. 22, 2005, revealed the run-off had caused "a white/yellow slurry to be deposited on the ground and flow into the storm sewer," discoloring the water in the Craig Park retention pond.
The judgment against Western Indiana Stone orders the company to correct the problem within 30 days and submit to a one-year "performance period," during which the factory must demonstrate "continuous compliance" with state environmental regulations.
Bonnie Nash, an IDEM public information officer, said Nevins and Pickett have cooperated with investigators and indicated they will work toward compliance.
"Every time someone signs the agreed order, we see that as a positive," she said. "We believe they are cooperating with us."
Neither Nevins nor Pickett could be reached for comment for this story. In an April 13 interview with The Brazil Times, Nevins said the problem had already been corrected.