Held accountable

recently moved to the Cassopolis area, after I met my wife online and we were married. My wife and I are blessed enough to own one the attractive properties that is adjacent to one of the many wetlands that dot our countryside. Every time I look out my backyard sliding glass doors, into the beautiful marshland, I am reminded of an incident that took place in my former hometown.

On the morning of Feb. 6, 2015, a fire erupted in an outbuilding of the Warsaw Chemical, a plant which manufactures car wash detergent, among other things. The detergent leaked directly into Winona Lake, in the city limits of Warsaw, Indiana. As a member of the hazmat team at the orthopedic factory where I have worked for 18 years, I was first hand eyewitness to damage the chemicals produced on the lake.

After the incident occurred, I became curious about the progress being made, dealing with environmental pollution. What I found out was alarming. PCB based chemicals, which act as a coolant in older electric transformers, are still being found in Lake Michigan. Sadly, the antiquated transformers are still being used. Phosphorous pollution is still allowed to be emitted into the waterways. Currently Indiana and Michigan have not met the EPA approved criteria for numeric total nitrogen  and total phosphorus.

With the recent May 12 Jefferson Township cleanup date, I would like to remind my new friends and neighbors that environmental responsibility goes beyond disposing of our car batteries and paint properly. We must continue to press our lawmakers about the lack of progress being made, toward ensuring we have clean drinking water in our region. We do not want to become the next Flint, Michigan.

Darren Bettinger

Cassopolis

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