CAMBRIDGE CITY — A proposed solution to the problem of grease from Really Cool Foods clogging the sewage system apparently remains in the hands of the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Since Really Cool Foods opened in the Indiana Gateway Industrial park north of Cambridge City in October 2008, grease from the processing procedures has entered the sewage treatment system and caused pump failures at a booster station at at Indiana 1 and Capital Hill Road. The company has paid $235,000 to theWestern Wayne Regional Sewer Districtfor surcharges, penalties and reimbursements for pump repairs over the past couple years.

At a Sewer District board meeting in March, Clive Hayden, who was then the company's operations director, reported he had worked with a European consulting firm to find a fix. Several changes were made within the plant operations to ease the problem and he proposed adding a dissolved air flotation system in the plant that would solve the problem. That system has been successfully used at food processing plants in Europe, he said then.

Hayden presented a timeline that indicated IDEM could give approval for the DAF within weeks and it could be ordered from Europe and installed by September.

Hayden is no longer at the plant.

Really Cool Foods has applied to the Indiana Department of Environmental Management to install the DAF system. Tthat application is still being considered, said Roger Harvey of Bose Public Affairs Group, the company spokesman.

Sewage District Board President Terry Patterson said Tuesday everything is on hold until IDEM rules on the application. He said he hoped there might be new information by the board meeting Monday.

"We haven't heard any information so we're kind of in the dark," he said. "When they (Really Cool Foods) said they would hear something back that soon from the state, that the state would work that fast, it doesn't surprise me they're still waiting."

Harvey said the company believes they are getting closer to approval each day.

"We're in the review process with the state and so we remain hopeful that if they give us approval," he said. "In the meantime, we are moving forward to ensure the technology is ready to install as soon as possible. We're hopeful the state approval will still give us enough time so we can get it constructed and installed by September."

Another suggestion by Hayden was for the Sewage District to move its testing probe to a different location to get a more accurate and true reading of waste. The old location did not give a true reading, Hayden said.

That change has been made and it has been positive for the company, Harvey said. Since the beginning of the year, surcharges have been reduced by about 60 percent.

Patterson said the internal changes made in the plant have not helped that much to solve the grease problem but there have not been any recent pump problems.

At the meeting in March, the last reported problem occurred in January this year.

Harvey said he returned home for personal reasons.

"We're still working with the same consulting company and he is a part of that," he explained. "Don Gillum is now overseeing operations as chief operating officer. He has been in the business for more than 30 years."

Gillum previously served as general manager.

The recession has taken its toll on the demand for the company's product but Harvey said the company is encouraged with the way demand is returning.

"A lot of prospects are planning for the future and my understanding is that the sales team has been pleased with the response they have been getting," he said. "We're hopeful we can increase the workforce but our industry is not unlike any others and the economy has had an impact. We're optimistic we'll see a better economy which will increase demand for our product."
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