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

An aerial image of a similar facility called Steel Dust Recycling in Millport, Alabama. (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.

Waelz Sustainable Products plans to hire more than 60 people and then about 30 more once it receives approval for a second kiln. The plant should begin operating this fall.

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

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.