Frustration surrounds zinc recycling plant in Cass County

Emotions are running high in Cass County.

Posted: Jun 25, 2020 12:00 AM
Updated: Jun 25, 2020 12:38 AM

CASS COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Emotions are running high in Cass County.

Community members voiced their frustrations Wednesday night for the first time in person about a zinc and iron recycling plant.

It's currently being built in the Cass County Agri-Business Park.

At Wednesday's community forum several people were concerned about their health, the environment and their reputation.

Many said it won't be attractive for other businesses to build in the county if they could face a negative environmental impact from the recycling plant. 

Bryon Stephens has been helping lead the Cass County Citizen's Coalition.

As we previously reported that group is fighting against WSP (Waelz Sustainable Products) to stop building and move out of the county.

Before Wednesday evening, they had only been able to chat with WSP virtually due to COVID-19.

Stephens emphasized how the plant will diminish the local economy and scare away any other potential businesses.

"We know this is not going to be a catalyst to bring good business in so we are just fearful it will also chase away opportunity for us," said Stephens.

Stephens said WSP hasn't given many answers to the community.

He added the community is taking on the brunt of the plant.

Meanwhile on Wednesday the company set up a presentation explaining the plant's benefits and addressing concerns.

Ali Alavi said there are regulations in place that will help the facility keep its environmental impacts low.

Alavi is the Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel for Heritage Environmental Services.

Heritage Environmental Services is an Indianapolis based environmental service that is partners with WSP.

Alavi added he and the company value any sort of community input.

"We are fully committed to engaging in anyone who wants to talk to us about the project," said Alavi.

The plant plans to hire more than 90 employees and construction to be completed by 2021.

News 18 plans on following up with WSP and Cass County Comissioner's Thursday to get more answer's on the project.

Those will be on-air Thursday evening at 10 and 11.

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