(MUNCIE) – A steel dust recycling plant could be setting up shop in Muncie, much to the outrage of many residents there who said at a city council meeting this week they don’t want the plant built there.
Hundreds of people showed up to the and some even had to be turned away because the council chamber was at capacity.
The council approved a tax abatement for Waelz Sustanable Products to build it’s new facility where the old Borg-Warner building used to stand. But, the project is on hold because the building permit Waelz has applied for is being investigated by the state Department of Environmental Management.
Most of the residents who showed up the council meeting are opposed to the plant being built out of fear of mercury contamination in the air as well as other toxic elements that could be brought to Muncie.
“My husband and I have said we can’t raise our children here,” said resident Emily Ziarko. “We can’t stay. I’m not willing to risk my children’s lives to stay in my hometown.”
At the meeting the council voted to send the ordinance it approved five-months ago back to committee.
“It’s a good step in the right direction, but it doesn’t change the fact that the ordinance stands,” said Erin Kinsella. “If they (Waelz) come, I don’t know what we’ll do. As much as I love the community, I’m devoted to my children.”
A sticky part of the vote to table the ordinance is some are not sure if it is even valid, since the council adjourned because of the tense atmosphere in the council chamber and then reconvened a little later to vote on the measure.
In the meantime the committee tasked with looking over the ordinance will get together in the next two weeks to talk about it, said chair Denise Moore.
Waelz is planning to hold a community meeting August 20, 2019 to discuss concerns resident may have about the project. The said in a statement:
“We are committed to working with the community to share detailed information about building a state-of-the-art facility that not only meets regulatory standards protecting human health and the environment but exceeds them. The Muncie zinc recycling facility will not put at risk public health, our groundwater or air quality. We are proud of our track record of environmental stewardship, and should our permit application be approved we look forward to being able to create good paying jobs in Muncie and contributing to the community for many years to come.”