Still No Impacts Detected Following Winona Lake Chemical Spill

Release Date: 5/6/2015
Contact Information: Madisson Heinl, 574-372-5100, ext. 6446, heinlmm@grace.edu

Still No Impacts Detected Following Winona Lake Chemical Spill

WINONA LAKE, Ind. –The Center for Lakes & Streams tested Winona Lake for detectable chemical concentrations after lake waters were fully mixed on April 17. The 325,000 gallons of fire flow water that washed into Winona Lake following the Warsaw Chemical Inc., Co. spill have not shown wildlife impacts to date.

Chemicals that initially entered the lake at high concentrations were diluted down within one week following the spill to concentrations well below human health guidelines. Further testing by the Center for Lakes & Streams after Winona Lake was fully mixed confirmed these findings.

Because the chemical spill occurred during the winter months, the effect of the chemicals in Winona Lake could not be fully assessed until the lake was fully mixed. When the ice on Winona Lake began to melt in April and the top layer of water became the same temperature as the bottom layer, it was able to mix as wind blew across the lake surface. Only once these layers mixed was it possible to get an accurate overview of the entire lake and any effects of the chemicals that entered on February 6.

During the last weekend of April, another spill was reported in the same area of Winona Lake, originating from Dalton Foundry. The spill was likely food grade vegetable oil used as hydraulic oil in the plant’s manufacturing process. Booms were placed in the lake near the spill site to contain the oil. The City of Warsaw Stormwater Utility and IDEM are working with Dalton Foundry to address this incident.

“The Warsaw Chemical spill in February and now this more recent Dalton Foundry spill highlight the importance of our community working together to reduce these risks in the future,” said Dr. Nate Bosch, Director of the Center for Lakes & Streams. “We are fortunate to have Winona Lake still fishable and swimmable as summer approaches despite these two recent incidents.”

The Center for Lakes & Streams at Grace College conducts applicable research, engages and educates residents, and collaborates with other organizations in efforts to make the lakes and streams of Kosciusko County cleaner. For more information or to support their efforts, visit lakes.grace.edu.

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