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On Tuesday, January 22, Warsaw Police Department responded to an apparent trespass at the Arnolt Corporation Building on Durbin Street. Police determined several scrappers were attempting to steal copper coils from the building. Further investigation revealed a transformer that housed the copper coils had been breached and oil was being released from the unit. Warsaw-Wayne Township Fire Territory was immediately summoned. They shut off the source of the oil and contained the spill with absorbents and blocked the floor drain.
Due to the quick action of both city departments, the spill was completely contained. No contaminants passed into the stormwater drains.
Recognizing that the oil contained the potentially toxic chemical PCB, the City reported the incident to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Those agencies, along with the State Fire Marshall, responded onsite within 24 hours to evaluate the incident.
Both agencies acted swiftly and decisively to investigate and completely remove the contaminants from the building. All traces of PCB oil were removed by EPA contractors and packaged for transportation to appropriate disposal sites. While onsite, EPA investigators also inspected the site for any further issues.
State and Federal agencies are working with the bankruptcy trustee for the Arnolt building on the matter. All samples of the materials removed are being analyzed. Those results should be forthcoming this week.
Coincidently, the City has been working with the Michiana Area Council of Governments, the Lilly Center for Lakes and Streams and the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation, on an EPA brownfield grant request to be submitted this week. The brownfield grant would provide funding for a comprehensive environmental site assessment, as well as future planning for revitalization of the Arnolt site.
Several suspects have been apprehended in the incident and face serious charges.
Quick action by the Warsaw Police Department, and equally swift emergency response by the Warsaw-Wayne Township Fire Territory, averted a significant spill.