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Zinc Oxide Manufacturing Plant Granted Air Permit To The Dismay Of Concerned Residents

Courtesy of Google Maps

A controversial zinc oxide manufacturing plant can now start operating in Cass County. The state approved an air permit for Waelz Sustainable Products last week. Concerned residents said they’re disappointed.

The Cass County Citizens Coalition worries the plant will emit dangerous amounts of lead and other heavy metals into the air. Now that Waelz Sustainable Products has the state’s approval, Lora Redweik with the Coalition said the group will have to rely on its air monitors to keep residents safe.

“Our hands are kind of tied on what we can do, but what we can do is hold them accountable for what they did disclose, you know, what they are going to emit," she said.

Redweik said the group is deciding whether it will appeal the decision from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

READ MORE: Logansport To Do Its Own Air Monitoring Near Controversial Zinc Oxide Manufacturing Plant 

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Mike Englert is the general manager for the plant near Logansport. He said the company intends to comply with its air permit and bring employees in four weeks ahead of time for training — including environmental compliance.

“I know sometimes it's hard to have faith, but have faith in who we are and what we're going to do. We have the best available technology and we have the best people to operate that technology," he said.

The Environmental Protection Agency will review Waelz Sustainable Products' air permit. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is expected to decide whether or not to grant the permit next week. The Cass County Citizens Coalition filed lawsuits in attempt to shut down the project.

The plant was originally going to be located in Muncie, but city officials decided to reject the project.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story said the Environmental Protection Agency would decide whether or not to grant Waelz Sustainable Products an air permit. That was incorrect. The EPA reviewed the permit, but the Indiana Department of Environmental Management ultimately grants them.

Contact reporter Rebecca at or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.