Waelz Sustainable Products (WSP) has proposed a new plant in Logansport, Indiana, that will process waste from steel mills to make zinc and iron products.
Good News! Friday, August 21, 2020, the Cass County Council voted not to approve tax incentives for the WSP plant, but to send them back to the Redevelopment Commission for renegotiation. This is an opportunity for Cass County Citizens Coalition to negotiate for lower air emissions and better air monitoring.
The Waelz process, first invented in 1888, involves mixing electric arc furnace dust with a carbon source, like coal or petroleum coke, and heating it in kilns to between 1000o and 1500o Celsius. Zinc oxide is captured out of the fumes and referred to as Waelz zinc oxide or WZO. The residual solid material is high in iron and can be sold as Waelz iron product or WIP.
In Logansport, WSP is proposing to build a facility with two Waelz kilns on the property at 3440 W 300 S, Logansport, IN 46947, about 3 miles from downtown Logansport . There is strong opposition in Cass County including from the Cass County Citizens Coalition.
Air pollution is released during the Waelz process. WSP filed an air permit application with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management or IDEM, on March 30, 2020.
WSP’s air permit application includes WSP’s own estimates of its annual air emissions. They estimate that they will emit 161 tons per year of carbon monoxide, which is as much as 2,254 highway vehicles; and 171 tons per year of fine particulate matter, which is more than the Essroc Cement Corp plant that is already in Cass County. Fine particulate matter air emissions exacerbate respiratory and cardiac diseases.
The greenhouse gases that WSP estimated when it proposed building its plant in Muncie, Indiana, would have been the equivalent of adding more than 90,000 cars to the road.
WSP’s air permit application estimates 220 lbs of mercury air emissions per year, but their proposal for Muncie estimated 1500 lbs of mercury per year. The Logansport plant, according to WSP’s own air permit application, would not add any pollution controls specific for capturing mercury, so how they got from 1500 lbs down to 220 is a mystery. The permit application asks for a limit of 1000 lbs of lead air emissions per year, and lead is well known to deposit out of air emissions in the first 2 miles. Logansport is directly downwind of the proposed WSP site, with many neighborhoods well within 2 miles. Lead accumulates in soil over time and is toxic to the nervous system, particularly for young children and babies.
The Waelz process is well known to release dioxins, which are a family of highly toxic chemicals including carcinogens, but they were not listed in the WSP air permit application. Methods for controlling dioxin emissions from Waelz plants were first pioneered in Europe 20 years ago.
The WSP air permit application and the literature on the Waelz process clearly demonstrate that the proposed plant will have significant air emissions, if it is built and operates. The Hoosier Environmental Council published a paper with more details on the WSP air emissions and their potential health effects.
 Wikipedia (2019). Waelz Process.
 Ramboll (March 30, 2020). Waelz Sustainable Products, LLC – Logansport, Indiana, New Source Construction Permit Title V Application.
 IDEM Air Quality Permit Status Search.
 Hung, P.C. et al (2012) Characteristics of dioxin emissions from a Waelz plant with acid and basic kiln mode. J Hazard Mater, 201, 229-235.
 Mager, K. And Meurer, U. (2000). Recovery of zinc oxide from secondary raw materials. Chapter in Fourth Internation Symposium on Recycling of Metals and Engineered Materials.
The Proposed Facility Would Be Located
Miles From Downtown Logansport.
They estimate that they will emit
Tons Per Year of Carbon Monoxide
Tons Per Year of Fine Particulate Matter Will Be Released.