CLOVERDALE -- Details were sketchy Friday evening about an accidental biosolid discharge that occurred earlier in the day at Altra Biofuels Indiana LLC, an ethanol plant located in Cloverdale.
"Basically all we know at this point is that there was a loss of biosolids," said Amber Finklestein, public information officer for the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. "They were accidentally discharged."
Some of those biosolids entered Limestone Creek.
"Approximately one mile (of the creek) has been affected," Finklestein said.
Biosolids is a term used by the water treatment industry that refers to treated sludge -- the byproduct of the treatment of domestic and commercial wastewater in a wastewater treatment plant.
To create biosolids, these residuals are further treated to reduce pathogens.
Still, toxic chemicals remain in the treated sludge, as there is no technology available to remove these and tens of thousands of other chemicals from sewage sludge, the byproduct of wastewater treatment.
Late Friday afternoon, IDEM officials were at the Altra plant assessing the situation.
An anonymous phone call to the Banner Graphic Friday afternoon said Altra had already been shut down by IDEM, but Finklestein said that wasn't the case.
"The plant may shut down," she said. "What it looks like now is the wastewater treatment plant at the facility is at capacity. We have technical staff onsite, but as of now we're not sure what's going to happen. The incident is in its early stages … information is really spotty right now."
Depending on their level of treatment and resultant pollutant content, biosolids can be used in regulated applications ranging from soil conditioning to fertilizer for food.
Altra Biofuels is based in Omaha, Neb. The Cloverdale facility began production on May 12.