Winamac Water Department Superintendent Discusses Wellhead Protection with Town Council

A quote for a wellhead protection plan was presented to Winamac Town Council members when they met on Monday.

Water Department Superintendent Jeremy Beckner told members that the quote was from Peerless Midwest and it was for $26,250.

He explained that a wellhead protection plan is something that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management requires. Continue reading

North Judson Town Council Secures Administration Services for $550,000 Community Block Development Grant

The North Judson Town Council members secured administrative assistance related to their $550,000 OCRA grant at their Monday night meeting. KIRPC Representative Shawn Cain presented a proposal for administrative services for the Community Development Block Grant funds that will be used for the town’s Drinking Water Project.

In previous meetings, Town Superintendent Marshall Horstmann has shared that the Drinking Water Project includes adding a backup generator for the water system to address an Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) requirement, rehabilitating some of the town’s wells and conducting external and internal upgrades to both water towers to bring them up to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards. Continue reading

City of Knox Streets Open, Wastewater Treatment Plant Back to Normal Functions

Picture Source: Indiana DNR District 10 FB Page Knox Center Township Fire Department Assists DNR with Rescue

All of the roads closed due to flooding in the City of Knox are now open. Knox Street Superintendent Jeff Borg told the Board of Works members Wednesday morning that rerouting the truck traffic helped keep trucks out of danger and be on more solid roads.

The city had 60 tons of sand available for sand bags and the county brought in another 50 tons of sand to fill sand bags. Borg said about 10 tons of sand remain for city use. Any sand bags that are no longer needed may soon be collected and the sand re-deposited at the city street department.

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Knox Street Department Uses 70 Ton of Road Salt

The Knox Street Department has gone through a lot of its salt supply to help clear roads this winter.

According Street Superintendent Jeff Borg, the city has experienced 12 snow events that have amounted to 26 inches of snow. That statistic is from Dec. 9, 2017 to today. As a result, 70 tons of the 100 tons of road salt was used to help clear roads as contracted from the State of Indiana cooperative. The city can purchase up to 120 tons as part of the agreement.

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North Judson Residents Encouraged to Help Secure Competitive Grant for Water System Improvements

A public hearing was held over a $550,000 OCRA wastewater/drinking water grant during last week’s North Judson Town Council meeting.

Executive Director of Kankakee-Iroquois Regional Planning Commission Edwin Buswell provided some information about the proposed Office of Community and Rural Affairs grant, explaining that it will be utilized for various water system improvements. He said the local match of $1,268,000 would come from the state revolving loan fund.

One individual asked about the potential impact this could have on taxes. Buswell replied that he believes the rate increase that was implemented earlier this year would cover the cost and no additional increases will be necessary. Continue reading

Knox City Council Approves Burn Permit

Knox City Council
Knox City Council

The Knox City Council last night discussed a proposed burn permit to clear timber from the Industrial Park in Knox for expansion purposes.

Bob Aloi from Territorial Engineering explained the process of the air curtain that will be used at the site so smoke won’t be an issue. He said the contractor, Thomas Excavating, will dig a hole that will not exceed ten feet wide and an apparatus will be used to help circulate the air so the particles and smoke will not be seen so permeate into the air.

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Knox City Council Discusses Proposed Burn Permit, Tables Action


The Knox City Council tabled burn permit request from IDEM and the Starke County Economic Development Foundation (SCEDF).

SCEDF Director Charlie Weaver explained that several trees need to be felled in three sites covering 32.8 acres in the industrial park and in order to economically rid the area of the timber debris it would be burned. The area left would be seeded with a portion left for greenspace and the other for economic development. Plans to expand industry and to create jobs is in the future thinking of the development foundation.

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Proposed Pulaski County Hog Farm Gets Conditional Green Light


The Pulaski County Advisory Plan Commission granted conditional approval to a rezoning request for a proposed confined hog feeding operation pending approval from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Brothers Joshua and Jared Brown of North Judson, doing business as JoJa, LLC, want to raise between 20 and 25,000 pigs per year on 40 acres of land at 200 North and 400 West. The proposed farming operation will be situated behind a large sand hill in order to be somewhat less obtrusive. John Hoek  is acting as a consultant on the project.

“They’re meeting all the obligations with IDEM, with the zoning, with the setbacks, with the farming practices. Morgan Hill has demonstrated a history of excellent farming practices with no IDEM violations at all. Very professional family, and this will be no different,” Hoek said. Continue reading

Meth Residue May Linger Long After Lab is Busted


The law enforcement aspect of locating and dismantling clandestine meth labs is just one aspect of combating the problems associated with this dangerous drug. Any location where a lab is found must be decontaminated by a contractor licensed by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management before it can be deemed fit for human habitation again. IDEM Safety Director Scott Froush says the state has strict guidelines for properties to be decontaminated.

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Nominations and Applications Sought by IDEM for Environmental Award

In an effort to recognize Indiana’s extraordinary environmental stewards and projects aimed at preventing pollution in 2011 and 2012, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management is now accepting nominations and applications for the 2013 Indiana Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence. Nominations and applications may be submitted to IDEM through April 19.

Hoosier businesses, schools, trade associations, environmental groups, nonprofit organizations and individuals are eligible for the awards program, which includes such categories as Energy and Renewable Resources, Five Years’ Continuous Improvement, Greening the Government, Land Use, Outreach or Education, Pollution Prevention, and Recycling or Reuse.

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IDEM Inspectors Investigate Manure Odor Permeating Knox

Inspectors from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management made their way to the hog farm owned by Lee Nagai at 1755 E. 400 N. in Knox on Friday to investigate complaints of a potent manure smell emitting from the farm. Barry Sneed from IDEM said they received four complaints Friday. He explains why the odor from the farm was so strong and was experienced for miles away.

“Obviously, the manure has an odor to it to begin with and there are certain times of year that the farmers will apply the manure to the field and usually it’s when there’s no crops in the field,” said Sneed. “They have to keep their manure lagoons down to a certain level and so as a result, they’ll have to apply that to the field.”

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IDEM Proposes Order Against C&C Salvage Violations

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management conducted an investigation into Starke County Recycling, Inc., C&C Salvage and a number of other businesses in Knox owned by James L. Campbell. As a result of the investigation, IDEM has made a preliminary determination that violations were made of environmental management laws and rules, and the department has proposed an Agreed Order constituting a settlement.

The order proposed requires Campbell to submit to a site assessment plan to allow them to assess potential contamination of soil, ground, water, and vapors from the areas in question. Within 15 days of receiving notice from IDEM of approval of the site assessment plan, Campbell would be required to implement the plan, and submit within 45 days a remediation work plan identifying potential contaminates, receptors, and exposure pathways to allow IDEM to identify all contamination. He would then implement the remedial actions within 15 days after the work plan’s approval. Finally, within 30 days after implementation, Campbell would have to submit to an IDEM certification to ensure the actions have been completed.

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Knox City Council Discusses Backlash of IDEM Burn

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council this week discussed the results of their controlled burn to dispose of tree waste from the June and July storms. Mayor Rick Chambers explained to the council that he had received several complaints concerning ash and soot from the fire, and one resident had filed a police report regarding damage to his vehicle from burning ash that had fallen on the car.

Chambers told the council that he sent the incident report of the damage to the city’s insurance company. The man is claiming $492 in damage, stating that the car requires a “wash and buff job,” and while Chambers feels that’s a little expensive for such a job, he has forwarded the information to the city’s insurance company to allow them to deal with sorting it out.

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management granted the city’s burn permit on Aug. 9, allowing the city 30 days to conduct the burn. According to the permit, the city was allowed to conduct the controlled burn at the Starke County Highway Garage, Knox City Dump, or Wythogan Park, and the council decided that the dump was the safest place for the burn.

Knox City Council Discusses IDEM Controlled Brush Burn

Knox City Council

The Knox City Council discussed the controlled burn to dispose of the collected brush and debris from the June and July storms.

Knox Mayor Rick Chambers told the council that the burn was supposed to take place earlier this week but the community has voiced its concern, so Chambers says he wanted to bring it to the council for further discussion. Chambers says the Indiana Department of Environmental Management has given the city its approval for the burn.

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Local Scrap Yard Under Fire For Numerous Violations

A local scrap yard is under fire for allegedly committing numerous Indiana Department of Environmental Management violations, and a hearing was held yesterday in the Starke Circuit Court regarding the allegations. Attorney Steve Dodge appeared in court with Starke County Zoning Administrator Bruce Williams, who presented evidence of numerous violations committed by C&C Salvage, located near the intersection of U.S. 35 and Toto Road.

According to a summary letter of an inspection conducted at the site by IDEM on May 21, there are locations where it is evident that fluids such as oil had been released onto the ground, and at least one location has several vehicle motors sitting on the ground with evidence of standing around them. Further, there are burned trees at the back of the property from a fire, and C&C Salvage Manager Jose Delgado reportedly said a pile of scrap had caught fire. There is also a small pond on the property that is full of debris including railroad ties, tires, trash, and scrap materials.

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Train Derailment Cleanup Still Underway

Crews remain on the scene of a train derailment near Ligonier which spilled nearly 200,000 pounds of molten sulfur and toluene. The car that was carrying the molten sulfur had burst into flames after the derailment of 27 cars of the 59-car train. Crews have smothered the burning train cars with clean soil, and officials say that once the fires are completely extinguished, they will get rid of the dirt and remove the cars.

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Winamac Town Board Receives Update on Sewer Separation Project

Winamac Wastewater Superintendent, Brad Zellers, came before the Winamac Town Board this week to report on the $5.2 million dollar sewer separation project. Zellers said the project is actually ahead of schedule and that all of the pipes are in the ground. The installation of some manholes and catch basins have yet to be completed. Also to be determined is if the compaction is adequate to pave the streets. IDEM rules are that the pipes must be in the ground 30 days before the paving can begin, which would put it in the middle of November.

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