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Opposition against pipeline moving water from Tippecanoe County to Lebanon grows

The city of Attica has passed a resolution voicing concerns about a proposed water pipeline to Lebanon (FILE PHOTO: WBAA/Ben Thorp)
The city of Attica has passed a resolution voicing concerns about a proposed water pipeline to Lebanon (FILE PHOTO: WBAA/Ben Thorp)

City councilors in Attica joined their West Lafayette counterparts in passing a resolution raising concerns about a proposed pipeline that would reroute water from Tippecanoe County down to Lebanon.

That water supply is essential to the massive industrial park being built in Lebanon — and state officials hope to pipe millions of it for the project from underground aquifers in Tippecanoe County.

So far, Eli Lilly is the only company to break ground at the park. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has said there is enough water to support Lilly’s $3.7 billion investment.

Earlier this month, West Lafayette passed a resolution opposing the state’s plan to remove the water from Tippecanoe County from the project.

Attica City Council President Larry Grant said he believes it’s important for the city council to also note their reservations with the project.

“I just have a lot of concerns that if they are drawing that kind of water out and wells start going dry we’re not going to have a lot of recourse here,” he said. “It’s going to be too little too late.”

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation recently released the early findings of a study into regional water availability, which found there was “abundant” water to support growth in both Lebanon and the Greater Lafayette area.

But Grant said he wants to see the data the IEDC is collecting before he feels secure about the proposed project.

“Can you draw one hundred million gallons of water a day out of this? What is that going to do to the existing wells along the Wabash River valley? Nobody has answered that very well in my mind,” he said.

Both West Lafayette and Attica officials have underlined that the resolutions are non-binding —but feel it is important to raise their concerns anyway.

When reached for comment on whether Lafayette might consider a similar resolution, Mayor Tony Roswarski said it was unlikely.

“Those resolutions don’t have any teeth to them, they don’t actually stop anything,” he said. “I mean it’s fine for letting people know you’re paying attention but I think that people in our community know that we’re paying attention.”

When reached for comment on the resolution, an IEDC spokesperson said the corporation "stands by the encouraging findings that have been released thus far,” and would “continue to work with all stakeholders while studying the aquifer and will share all further results as promised."