Citizens Want Public Hearing On Whiskey Barrel Storage In Sunman

Evaporating ethanol has been known to cause an unsightly fungus to grow on buildings near barrel houses.

The black fungus baudoinia compniacensis has been visible on buildings in Greendale and Lawrenceburg near the Lawrenceburg distillery for years. Residents in and near Sunman do not wish to see the fungus become a problem in their neighborhood. Photo by Mike Perleberg, Eagle Country 99.3.

(Sunman, Ind.) - A citizens group is forming to oppose a Sunman facility holding whiskey barrels from Lawrenceburg.

Eagle Country 99.3 told you last week that MGP Ingredients of Indiana, owner of the Lawrenceburg distillery, has purchased the former Deufol plant in Sunman. The company plans to store barrels there while whiskey ages inside.

Research has shown ethanol evaporating from those barrels - also known as the "angels' share" - can cause a black fungus to grow on structures near barrel houses. The fungus, scientifically named baudoinia compniacensis, been apparent as a black coating on parts of buildings in Lawrenceburg and Greendale near the distillery for decades.

A new organization called Sunman Area Citizens Against MGPI of Indiana does not want to see the fungus come to their rural area. Members of the group are urging citizens to contact the Indiana Department of Environmental Management with their concerns and demand that a public hearing be arranged.

IDEM is welcoming public comment on MGPI’s request for a minor source operating permit (PDF) for the Ripley County operation. The 30-day commenting period ends Monday, January 28.

According to the proposed permit, "Whiskey aging relies on natural ventilation and does not use fans to force air in or out of the warehouse, which would otherwise affect product quality. Therefore, the collection of the VOC emissions would negatively affect product quality. As a result, the VOC emissions cannot be reasonably collected as they pass through the openings in the buildings and are considered as fugitive emissions. In August 2004, the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication concluded that the emissions from the openings should be considered fugitive for determining major source status."

Find the Sunman Area Citizens Against MGPI of Indiana Facebook group here.

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