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Indianapolis company forced to find a new place to send industrial sewage or face shutdown

By Rebecca Thiele, IPB News | Published on in Business, Environment, Health, Statewide News
Tanks at the Metalworking Lubricants Co. facility on the south side of Indianapolis. After months of violations, Citizens Energy Group refuses to treat the company’s industrial waste. (Rebecca Thiele/IPB News)

A waste oil recycling company in Indianapolis will have to send its sewage somewhere else. After months of violations, Citizens Energy Group refuses to treat the company’s industrial waste.

Metalworking Lubricants Co. allegedly sent excess chemicals from crude oil and toxic heavy metals to Citizens’ treatment plant —making the water harder to treat. Now the company will no longer be allowed to discharge industrial waste to the utility after this month. Though it would still be able to send sanitary sewage from its office buildings to the utility.

Metalworking will also pay Citizens nearly $1 million — that’s in addition to the more than $660,000 the company was already fined.

Ann McIver is the utility’s director of environmental stewardship. She said what Metalworking Lubricants decides to do with its industrial wastewater now is up to the company.

“If they wish to continue operating, certainly they could containerize their wastewater and haul it off site for treatment to another facility,” McIver said.

McIver said this is the first time Citizens has revoked an industrial plants’ wastewater permit. She said the utility acts in the Environmental Protection Agency’s behalf as a wastewater regulator and takes that obligation seriously.

READ MORE: Indianapolis plant known for odor issues could lose wastewater permit.

Metalworking Lubricants has also had several air violations as well. Residents who live on the south side of Indianapolis near the plant have long complained of odor and other air pollution problems.

We couldn’t reach the company for comment. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management refused to make anyone available for an interview.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.