Cleanup resumes after last September's chemical fire

Cleanup efforts at the former Baycote Metal Finishing plant in Mishawaka have gone underground.

Last September, several neighborhoods and businesses in the surrounding area were evacuated after chemicals in the plant caught fire and caused a large vapor cloud to form. While the building itself had been vacant for years, it housed some 50,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals like cyanide.

Crews from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continue to deal with hazardous chemicals remaining on the site. Work resumed in March after workers took a winter break.

According to EPA on-site coordinator, Paul Atokociunas, efforts are focused on the waste water treatment system at Baycote.

“It continues to kind of throw us curve balls and some uncertainties about what we're finding in some of those underground storage pits there's a little more sludge like material down there. But we're managing to pump out the liquids in that area as well as kind of other area of the facility given the rain events and the water accumulation,” said Atokociunas.

Officials hope the cleanup can be completed by the end of May.

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