Logansport will do its own air quality testing in reaction to a planned zinc reclamation plant being built southwest of the city.
On Monday, the Cass County Citizens Coalition offered to donate the equipment to do the analysis, and the city will install the testing site at the Logansport Waste Water Treatment Plant.
The equipment will measure the potential emissions of five metals in the air after the zinc plant, Waelz Sustainable Products, is working.
Even without the donation from the CCCC, Logansport planned a testing site because of people’s concern about pollution.
“The city was moving in that direction,” said Logansport City Council President Dave Morris. “We think it’s a legitimate concern, and we want to monitor it to make sure,”
Councilman Larry Hood said Monday, "even if the coalition did not pay for this, I felt this was something we should do anyway."
WSP is being built in the Cass County Agri-Business Park near Clymers, about four miles southwest of the city limits.
The CCCC is a non-profit created by people who have been opposed to WSP because of various concerns.
To install the testing equipment sooner, the council voted to suspend the rules and have the first and second readings of an ordinance for the testing site at its Monday meeting.
Under the ordinance, a Tisch Model TE-HV Plus-BL ambient air monitor and a Dyacon weather station will be based on a new concrete pad at the water treatment plant.
Plant employees will be trained to monitor the testing equipment, which will cost about $13,000.
The CCCC is paying the equipment’s cost with money from its fundraisers and donations.
The city will pay for testing costs, which Morris said will run about $120 per test. The test will happen every six days, based on Indiana Department of Environmental Management standards.
The city will use $24,000 annually in County Economic Development Income Tax (CEDIT) funds for the testing, equipment calibration, and maintenance.
If the city needs additional funds this year, that amount can’t exceed $10,000.
Part of the costs will pay for consulting firm Sycamore Rowe LLC, owned by Logansport Environmental Consultant Malcolm Jarrell.
Jarrell will calibrate the equipment, do quality assurance and train and assist the wastewater plant workers on the equipment.
The city will pay up to $30,000 over 14 months for the services, Jarrell said.
His work is to “make sure the data collected will be done in a defensible manner” and stand up to challenges, Jarrell said.
Morris said that the testing equipment is similar to a lead testing site WSP installed on the roof of a Cass County building at 555 High St.
However, the city’s will test for more substances, and it's in a more desirable place, he added.
Based on testing, the wastewater plant is directly in the path of prevailing winds, which travel from southeast to northeast, and is miles closer to the plant.
“Sort of a gateway to the city for wind and a superior place to put [the equipment],” Jarrell said.
A Houston engineering firm specializing air modeling created a study of wind patterns.
It’s based on 10 years of wind patterns, Morris said.
That’s before WSP would begin functioning and will create a base line of what air quality normally is in the Logansport area.
WSP has already begun its air testing for lead, too.
Morris said the city’s testing will continue “for as long as we feel it’s necessary, for at least two years.”
Jarrell noted that the city’s air testing system will also detect any problems from other sources in the area.
The weather station will be tied into the testing equipment so data will show wind direction, speed and other variables.
If testing shows an increase in pollutants, the city could also test for mercury and dioxin, said Jarrell.
The city is also developing a plan for what to do if there is an unsafe level of emissions.
Morris said he’ll contact environmental agencies for insight.
Pollution isn’t the only worry for those against the WSP plant, either.
The CCCC members’ concerns also include rezoning for the plant, Cass County officials’ alleged violations of open door laws for government transparency and county officials selling 54 acres of county-owned land for $10.
Kristi Hileman contributed to this story.