‘Don’t poison our water:’ agreement reached to improve and expand IEC water treatment plant
NEW CARLISLE, Ind. - The Hoosier state is a top contender for General Motors’ (GM) fourth American electric vehicle battery plant. If chosen, the plant will be built in the Indiana Enterprise Center (IEC), which is acres of sold farmland in New Carlisle.
The IEC sits atop the Kankakee Aquifer, so people worry a giant factory could contaminate the water.
That was addressed Tuesday by the St. Joseph County Redevelopment Commission.
An agreement was reached to do a study on the plant and find out what needs to be done to expand its daily water output and protect the aquifer from factory contamination.
“The water plant is extremely important,” said Bill Schalliol, Executive Director of Economic Development for the county. “It really is the lifeblood of the project area.”
The water treatment facility, located at 31061 Edison Road, provides water to the Town of New Carlisle and the IEC.
“We will need additional water for the GM project and other projects that are interested in the area,” Schalliol said. “To be good stewards of the aquifer, we have to have a good, functioning water treatment plant.”
The 90-day study, funded by the Redevelopment Commission, will show what repairs and maintenance need to be done, what preventative measures can be put in place to protect against factory contamination, and how the plant can expand to generate a larger water output daily.
“We know that the plant produces 3,000,000 gallons of water today. We know that we’re going to probably need six to 10,000,000 gallons of water long-term for residential growth, commercial growth, so we want to be able to have a plant that can be expanded. Right now, we don’t have a plant that can do that,” Schalliol said.
But if a giant factory is coming, people want to know it will not contaminate the water supply.
“That was the main thing, don’t poison our water,” said New Carlisle resident, Dan Caruso.
He says water quality and environmental concerns made many slow to accept the project.
“We didn’t know what materials were going to be brought in,” he said.
However, Caruso said he is cautiously optimistic about potential growth from the plant.
“This is New Carlisle,” he said. “You’re bringing your industry in here. We can work together, but don’t think that just because you’re coming, we have to move out.”
Costs of the repairs and expansion to this plant will be determined after the 90-day study, and some of that burden could show up on the water bills of those who get their water from this treatment plant.
GM is set to make its decision of whether or not it’s choosing New Carlisle for its next battery plant by the end of the month.