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Cease and desist order for major Michiana distillery pushed back

A cease and desist order for a Michiana distillery has been pushed back. Journeyman distillery was facing the possibility of shutting down this Friday, but leaders in Three Oaks are giving them another shot.

“While we’re all sensitive and thrilled with Journeyman and we understand that there is an issue, that has got nothing to do with the people at this table,” said one member of Three Oaks’ Downtown Development team.

Following Tuesday nights heated meeting, the downtown development team met allowing members of the community to voice their concerns, again, regarding the wastewater issues with Journeyman Distillery.

“We are being asked to remedy issues that date back decades. Even more and I think it’s just wrong that we’re being challenged with this,” said Owner of the distillery, Bill Welter during that meeting.

The Village of Three Oaks has a lagoon system rather than a treatment plant, which wasn’t designed to handle as much wastewater as Journeyman is putting out. They tell ABC 57 News that the infrastructure was designed for residential use rathat than industrial use which is, in turn affecting the local ponds.

“When you have high strength waste going into the lagoon, the bacteria tries to eat that and essentially dies making the lagoons stagnant,” said Mike Greene, Three Oaks Village.

Initially, the local distillery was facing a cease and desist order to go into effect Friday June 8th, but based on feedback from the Planning Commission, they requested that the council delay it to next week during the common council meeting, allowing the public an opportunity to further voice their concerns.

“The rest of my week is preparing for their council meeting next week where I’ll be providing them with all the information I believe they need to make a proper decision next week,” said Greene.

ABC57 News spoke with council members off camera, who say they still want Journeyman Distillery around, but village officials have been asking for the business to take responsibility for 8 years now and that the bottom line here is that the Village would need a multi-million dollar treatment plant to solve the issue.

“The cease and desist is going to wait until next weeks council meeting so that community members have an opportunity to speak directly with the council, so I think that settled everything tonight,” said Greene.

“We feel like the Village should upgrade the system and through that process, Journeyman Distillery.. they have a high use user that could help pay for the infrastructure improvements,” said Welter. “With and IPP program or an industrial program the charges would be higher. I mean that’s a tremendous amount of money in a small town that could be used to invest in that infrastructure.”

Another issue brought up among council members before the meeting is that the village could begin seeing large number of fines if the issue isn’t dealt with soon. Stick with ABC 57 news for any updates prior to next week’s council meeting.

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